When wheelchair rugby was first invented in 1976, it was called murderball.
The sport has been part of the Paralympics since 1996 and is played with mixed-gender teams. The United States team was once dominant in the sport, winning gold in three of the first four Games where it was played, but Australia earned the top spot at both the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics.
The silver and bronze medals have bounced between a small group of other nations that includes Japan, New Zealand, Canada and Great Britain. All of those teams, plus the U.S., Australia, Denmark and France, will compete for gold at the Tokyo Paralympics, which began Tuesday.
Wheelchair rugby was created by a group of athletes who played wheelchair basketball but struggled with the technical shooting aspect of the game. Wheelchair rugby became an alternative. Team USA coach John Gumbert said anyone can succeed in the…