The Paralymplic Games is a parallel competition for athletes with disabilities. The Wheelchair Games was started as a rehabilitation program for British war veterans with spinal injuries by neurologist, Sir Ludwig Guttman in 1948. The neurologist had started using sports as part of spinal injury rehabilitation and as other spinal injury groups adopted the plan the competition grew.
The first Stoke Mandeville Games or Wheelchair Games was run to coincide with the 1948 London Olympics. By 1952, competitors from the Netherlands gave the games an international dimension.
The first Paralympics took place in 1960 in Rome and corresponded to the 9th Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games. Sir Ludwig Guttmann brought 400 wheelchair athletes to compete. The first Winter Paralympics were held in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden in 1976. The Summer Paralympics have been held in conjunction with the Olympic Games in the same host city since 1988. This practice was adopted in 1992 for the Winter Paralympics, and became an official policy of the International Olympic Committee and the IPC in 2001. The Paralympic Games take place three weeks after the closing of the Olympics, in the same host city and using the same facilities.
Past locations of Summer Paralympics
1948 - Stoke Mandeville, England
1960 - Rome, Italy
1964 - Tokyo, Japan
1968 - Tel Aviv, Israel
1972 - Heidelberg, Germany
1976 - Toronto, Canada
1980 - Arnhem, Netherlands
1984 - Stoke Mandeville & New York
1988 - Seoul, Korea
1992 - Barcelona, Spain
1996 - Atlanta US
2000 - Sydney, Australia
2004 - Athens, Greece
2008 – Beijing, China
At Beijing there will be twenty sports are on the program with rowing making its first appearance in the Paralympics. The sports are: Archery, Athletics (track and field), Boccia, Cycling, Equestrian, Football 5-a-side, Football 7-a-side, Goalball, Judo, Powerlifting, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Table tennis, Volleyball (sitting), Wheelchair basketball, Wheelchair fencing, Wheelchair rugby, Wheelchair tennis.
2012 - London UK
2012 - London, UK
The fourteenth Summer Paralympic Games took place in London. London 2012 has the largest field of any Paralympic Games ever. An estimated total of 4,200 athletes will represent 164 countries. Fourteen countries will be making their Paralympic Games début: Antigua and Barbuda, Brunei, Cameroon, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mozambique, North Korea, San Marino, the Solomon Islands, and the US Virgin Islands. In addition, Trinidad and Tobago will be returning to the Games for the first time since 1988.
The Paralympic torch was designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who had designed the Summer Olympic torch. It was intended to have a "modern" and "innovative" look, and was constructed with an aluminium alloy skin that is perforated to help with heat dissipation and grip. The torch also has a reflective finish, allowing it to match its surroundings and provide better visibility at night.