The title of Paralympic Games was first widelycoined for the Games of 1988 in South Korea – although there are isolated examples of its use in Tokyo 1964 and Heidelberg 1972. It combines the Greek preposition ‘para’ with the word ‘Olympic’, emphasising how the two Games work in ‘parallel’ to each other.
In 1960, Rome became the first Host City to use its Olympic venues for the Paralympic Games, with 400 athletes from 23 nations participating. The first Paralympic Winter Games took place in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden in 1976. They marked the inclusion of athletes who were amputees and those with a visual impairment. Athletes with cerebral palsy first took part in 1980.
In 1984, a category called ‘Les Autres’ (‘the others’ in French) brought in athletes who could not be categorised in existing groups. More recently, these athletes have been subsumed into other classifications, organised by ability to compete rather than by particular disabilities.
Athletes with an intellectual disability (learning disabilities) were part of the Games of 1996 and 2000 and their re-inclusion for the 2012 Games is under discussion (made difficult since in 2000 some of the Spanish Basketball Team were deemed as not disabled in the classification system)
By the time of the Sydney 2000 Games, 18 sports were part of the programme, with Paralympic Sailing and Wheelchair Rugby making their debut. The Barcelona 1992 Games featured 3,021 athletes from 82 nations.
The London 2012 Paralympic Games will feature 20 different sports with as many as 4,200 athletes from 150 nations taking part.
Editor's comments - [ In 1948, as the Olympic Games took place for the second time in London, the seeds for future Paralympic Games were sown.
Pioneering neurologist Sir Ludwig Guttmann organised a sports competition at the british hospital specialist in spinal injuries, Stoke Mandeville Hospital to coincide with the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. He had already seen the rehabilitative power of sport for spinalinjured World War II veterans and wanted to build on this experience.
Guttmann then continued to repeat the event every year at about the same time. In 1949, he is reported to have said in his opening speech that ‘maybe one day there would be Olympics for the disabled’. Three years later, in 1952, Dutch athletes joined the event, creating the first international games for athletes with a disability. ] Reference this?LOCOG (2008). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from In the text: LOCOG (2008)
Reference : LOCOG. (2008). The London 2012 guide to the Paralympic Games. London: LOCOG
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