In 1960, the first Paralympic Games were held in Rome, Italy. These Games were officially known as the Ninth Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games. In 1984, the International Olympics Committee later approved the term "Paralympic Games".
The Games began six days after the closing ceremony of the XVII Olympic Summer Games. They were held from September 9th to September 24th. The opening ceremony occurred on the September 18th at the Acqua Acetosa Stadium. Camillo Giardina, Italian Minister for Public Health, declared the Games open. There were 5,000 people attending the ceremony, along with the 400 athletes who participated in the Games. These athletes traveled from 23 different countries to compete.
A new disability was added to the Games. This addition allowed athletes with spinal cord injuries to compete. These Games in Rome were also the first Games for the disabled held in the same venue as the able-bodied Games. Unfortunately, the Olympic Village was not handicapped accessible. As a result, athletes who were unable to access the village on their own power had to be carried up and down the stairs.
The opening ceremonies were held at Oda Field. In these Games 375 athletes competed, 307 men and 68 women. Twenty-one countries participated. Great Britain sent the most athletes (70) and the U.S.A. sent 66. The amount of gold medals awarded was 144. Wheelchair racing was added into the venue this year.
The opening ceremonies were held at the Hebrew University Stadium. A crowd of more than 10,000 viewed this event. A total of 750 athletes from twenty-nine countries were represented. Since the 1964 Games, these Games had grown greatly. Events such as lawn bowling, women's basketball, and the 100 meter-wheelchair race for men were all played for the first time.
The closing ceremonies were held at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on November 13th.
In 1972, the Paralympic
Games were held in Heidelberg, Germany. These Games weren't held
in the same city as the 1972 Summer Olympic Games. The Paralympic
Games were supposed to be held in Munich, Germany, but they were
not able to accommodate the 1,000 athletes that would be participating.
The opening ceremonies occurred on August 2nd. Dr. Gustav Heineman (President of the Federal Republic of Germany) declared the Games open. The competitions lasted for seven days. Approximately 1,000 athletes from over 40 different countries participated.
These Games also included goalball as a demonstration sport and the 100 meter sprint for visually impaired athletes. In addition, these were the first Paralympic Games to use electronic touch pads in the swimming events.
Six countries were
represented in these Games with 1,657 athletes, 253 of whom were
women. For the first time, 261 amputees and 187 visually impaired
athletes were included in the program as well as in several new
events. It was also the first year where specialized racing wheelchairs
These Games were
the first time they were televised. At the opening ceremony on
August 3rd, there were over 24,000 fans
at the Woodbine Track.
New events included rifle shooting and goalball. Goalball was used as a demonstration sport in 1972, but in 1976, it became a full medal sport. In the wheelchair category, new distances added were: 200 meter, 400 meter, 800 meter, and 1,500 meter.
On August 11th, at Centennial Park Stadium, the closing ceremonies ended the nine-day event.
Denmark, the Netherlands, and South Africa all were contenders to host the games. Attending these Games was a crowd of 12,000 people. There were 42 countries competing with a total of 1,973 athletes participating. Of these, 1,055 competed in wheelchairs, 452 were amputees, 341 were considered visually impaired, and 125 were diagnosed with cerebral palsy. For the first time, sitting volleyball was added to the venue, goalball was accepted as a sport for visually impaired athletes, and competitors with cerebral palsy were allowed to compete.
This year, the Games
were held in two different places. Stoke Mandeville and New York
due to the splitting of disability categories. Athletes grouped
as amputees, les autres, vision impairment, and cerebral palsy
competed in New York. The athletes with spinal cord injuries competed
in Stoke Mandeville while wheelchair athletes competed elsewhere.
In New York, 13
events were played with 1,800 athletes from 45 countries. These
Games were to start June 16th and last until June 30th.
Below is a table displaying the sports played by each one of the
The Stoke Madeville games were held from July 22nd to August 1st. More than 1,100 athletes from 41 countries competed in 14 events, which included wheelchair marathon for the first time. Three thousand people witnessed the opening ceremonies presided over by Prince Charles.
In the 1988, the
Paralympic Games were held in Seoul, Korea.
The opening ceremony occurred on the October 15th and was held at the Olympic Stadium. Mr. Tae-Woo, President of the Republic of Korea, declared the Games open. During the ceremony, a new Paralympic flag was presented to Dr. Jens Bromann of the International Coordinating Committee. There were 75,000 people attending the ceremony along with 3,053 athletes who participated in the Games. These athletes traveled from 61 different countries to compete.
During these Games, the Olympic Organizing Committee made a commitment to assist the Paralympic Committee. The facilities were very well constructed and had been previously used for the Olympic Games.
The 1992 Paralympics was to be the largest showcase ever! The organizing committee of these games was concerned that the large number of Paralympic competitions would reduce the credibility of the Games. The committee then reduced the number of athletes with different disabilities to participate in the same events.
On September 3rd the opening ceremony was held in Montjuic Olympic Stadium and was attended by 65,000 spectators. About 90 delegations took part in the parade. Support was reinforced by the presence of Juan Antonio Samaranch, who was the president of the International Paralympic Committee. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain attended and Mayor Pasquel Maragall was also highly supportive of the Games.
There were over twelve days of competition in fifteen sports at these games. More than 1.5 million spectators attended and millions more watched this amazing event on television. The total number of athletes was 3,020 from 82 countries. About 487 events were held and 279 world records were set along with 431 gold medals won. The closing ceremonies, held on September 14th, brought an end to one of the greatest Paralympic Games.
In 1996, the Paralympic Games were held in Atlanta, United States. The Games were held from the 16th of August to the 25th of August. 388,373 spectators attended along with 3,195 athletes, who participated in the Games. These world-class athletes traveled from 103 different countries.
Some new disability categories were added, too. These categories included mentally impaired, spinal cord disabilities, cerebral palsy, amputations, les autres and visual impairments. There were 20 sports with 508 events. Seventeen of these were full medal sports.
The 1996 Paralympic Games attracted worldwide corporate sponsorship for the first time. A Cultural Pyramid was also showcased at the Games. The pyramid featured works of disabled artists.
The 2000 Paralympics were held in Sydney, Australia.
Over 4,000 athletes competed. Many sports such as wheelchair basketball, volleyball, sailing, athletics, powerlifting, and lawn bowling took place. These Paralympics were held from October 18th to October 29th.