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The Paralympic Games 

paralympic.org


 The Paralympic Games

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 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'.

Sir Ludwig Guttmann organized a sports competition in 1948 which became known as the Stoke Mandeville Games, involving World War II veterans with spinal cord injuries; in 1952 competitors from the Netherlands took part in the competition, giving an international notion to the movement. The first Olympic-style games for athletes with a disability were held in Rome in 1960; officially called the 9th Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games, these are considered to be the first Paralympic Games. The first Winter Paralympics were held in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden in 1976.

Since 1988, the Summer Paralympics have been held in the conjunction with the Olympic Games in the same host city. This practice was adopted in 1992 for the Winter Paralympics, and became an official policy of the International Olympic Committee and the IPC following a June 19, 2001 agreement. The Games take place three weeks after the closing of the Olympics, in the same host city and using the same facilities. Cities bidding to host the Olympic Games must include the Paralympic Games in their bid, and typically both Games are now run by a single organizing committee.

Athletes who may be at a disadvantages in the Olympics, due to amputation or other disability, are able to compete on, what some consider to be, a more even playing field.  There has been criticism, though, regarding the competition between unilateral and bilateral amputees.  For instance, in 2004, 17-year-old Oscar Pistorius was accused of ‘racing tall’ on bilateral below knee prostheses.  At the time, Pistorius was using Ossur’s FlexFoot Cheetahs.  Unilateral competitors believed Pistorius had a vertical advantage, as his bilateral prostheses were supposedly too high for his anatomical height.  The height of a unilateral amputee’s prosthesis is limited by the height of the contralateral sound limb

Currently, there is great debate on whether high-tech prosthetic devices actually give amputees an advantage when completing against non-amputees in mainstream sports. 

Check out where the Paralympic Games have been, and where they are going: 

Summer Paralympic Games

1960 Summer Paralympics – Rome - Italy

1964 Summer Paralympics – Tokyo - Japan

1968 Summer Paralympics - Tel Aviv - Israel

1972 Summer Paralympics – Heidelberg - West Germany

1976 Summer Paralympics – Toronto - Canada

1980 Summer Paralympics – Arnhem - Netherlands

1984 Summer Paralympics - Stoke Mandeville - New York - United Kingdom - United States

1988 Summer Paralympics – Seoul - South Korea

1992 Summer Paralympics – Barcelona - Spain

1996 Summer Paralympics – Atlanta - United States

2000 Summer Paralympics – Sydney - Australia

2004 Summer Paralympics – Athens - Greece

2008 Summer Paralympics – Beijing - China

2012 Summer Paralympics – London - United Kingdom



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