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Paralympic Games: Information, News and Events

Disabled World: Revised/Updated: 2019/06/24

Synopsis: The Paralympic Games are multi-sport disability events for athletes with physical mental and sensorial disabilities. The Paralympic Games are a multi-sport event for athletes with physical, mental and sensorial disabilities. Paralympic Games are sometimes confused with Special Olympics, which are only for people with intellectual disabilities.

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The Paralympic Games are a multi-sport event for athletes with physical, mental and sensorial disabilities. This includes mobility disabilities, amputees, visual disabilities and those with cerebral palsy. The Paralympic Games are held every four years, following the Olympic Games, and are governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) - (The Paralympic Games are sometimes confused with the Special Olympics, which are only for people with intellectual disabilities.)

There are Winter and Summer Paralympic Games, which since the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, are held almost immediately following the respective Olympic Games. All Paralympic Games are governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

When did the Paralympic Games First start?

The Paralympics first started in 1948 when Ludwig Guttmann organized a sports competition which involved world war 2 veterans that had spinal injuries.

Afterwards a similar event was organized in Toronto, Canada where different disability groups were added and the idea of merging together and taking part in athletic sports was a success.

The name derives from the Greek "para" ("beside" or "alongside") and thus refers to a competition held in parallel with the Olympic Games. No relation with paralysis or paraplegia is intended, however, the word Paralympic was originally a portmanteau combining 'paraplegic' and 'Olympic'.

The number of athletes participating in Summer Paralympic Games have increased from 400 athletes from 23 countries in Rome in 1960 to 3806 athletes from 136 countries in Athens in 2004.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games, and serves as the International Federation for nine sports, for which it supervises and co-ordinates the World Championships and other competitions.

The Summer and Winter Paralympic Games are the ultimate international competitions for world class athletes with a disability. They are linked to the Olympic celebrations every two years and athletes must meet strict qualifying standards in order to compete.

Disability Category Definitions for Paralympic Games

(These categories apply to both summer and winter Paralympics.)

  • Amputee: Athletes with a partial or total loss of at least one limb.
  • Cerebral Palsy: Athletes with non-progressive brain damage, for example cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke or similar disabilities affecting muscle control, balance or coordination.
  • Intellectual Disability: Athletes with a significant impairment in intellectual functioning and associated limitations in adaptive behavior (currently suspended.)
  • Wheelchair: Athletes with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities which require them to compete in a wheelchair.
  • Visually Impaired: Athletes with vision impairment ranging from partial vision, sufficient to be judged legally blind, to total blindness.
  • Athletes with a physical disability that does not fall strictly under one of the other five categories, such as dwarfism, multiple sclerosis or congenital deformities of the limbs such as that caused by thalidomide.
Winter Paralympic Games:
1976 - Paralympics - Ornskaldsvik - Sweden
1980 - Paralympics - Geilo - Norway
1984 - Paralympics - Innsbruck - Austria
1988 - Paralympics - Innsbruck - Austria
1992 - Paralympics - Albertville - France
1994 - Paralympics - Lillehammer - Norway
1998 - Paralympics - Nagano - Japan
2002 - Paralympics - Salt Lake City - United States
2006 - Paralympics - Turin - Italy
2010 - Paralympics - Vancouver - Canada
2014 - Paralympics - Sochi - Russia
2018 - Paralympics - Pyeongchang - South Korea
2022 - Paralympics - Beijing - China
2026 - Paralympics - Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Summer Paralympic Games:
1960 - Paralympics - Rome - Italy
1964 - Paralympics - Tokyo - Japan
1968 - Paralympics - Tel Aviv - Israel
1972 - Paralympics - Heidelberg - West Germany
1976 - Paralympics - Toronto - Canada
1980 - Paralympics - Arnhem - Netherlands
1984 - Paralympics - Stoke Mandeville - UK, New York - US
1988 - Paralympics - Seoul - South Korea
1992 - Paralympics - Barcelona - Spain
1996 - Paralympics - Atlanta - United States
2000 - Paralympics - Sydney - Australia
2004 - Paralympics - Athens - Greece
2008 - Paralympics - Beijing - China
2012 - Paralympics - London - United Kingdom
2016 - Paralympics - Rio de Janeiro - Brazil
2020 - Paralympics - Tokyo - Japan
2024 - Paralympics - Paris - France



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