Every athlete deserves to take part in sporting events including athletes with an impairment. For that reason, Paralympics was introduced to make athletes with disabilities show off their talents and skills. Do you love the Olympics? Then you will admire the Paralympics. Games for athletes with disabilities were found over 100 years ago. The first sports clubs for deaf athletes were introduced in 1888 in Berlin. Until World War II, Paralympics was not introduced to the world. How well do you know the history of the Paralympics games? If you are curious to learn the history of the Paralympics, read the blog to increase your historical knowledge.
What are Paralympics?
The Paralympic Games, also called Paralympics, and the Games of the Paralympian are international multi-sport events for athletes with disabilities. Athletes with impaired muscle power, limb deficiency, impaired passive range of movement, leg length difference, athetosis, hypertonia, short stature, and intellectual and visual impairments are eligible in Paralympics. Like the Olympics, Paralympics is divided into Winter and Summer Paralympic Games, held every two years. The Summer Olympics were organized in Seoul, South Korea in 1988. All Paralympic events are managed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Many Olympic competitions such as Alpine skiing, biathlon, and cross-country skiing were included in the Winter Paralympics, and archery, cycling, and swimming competitions were added in summer sports.
Who Started the Paralympics?
- A. George Guttmann
- B. Ludwig Guttmann
- C. Richard Guttmann
- D. Jessica Guttmann
After World War II Paralympic sports were introduced, the main reason was to support the large number of war veterans and civilians who were injured during the war.
History of the Paralympics
The German-Jewish neurologist Sir Ludwig Guttmann became the founder of the Paralympic Sports and the Paralympic Movement. He was one of the prominent pre-World War II neurologists in Germany. He worked at the Jewish Hospital in Breslau.
When Did the Paralympics Start?
Following World War II, the first Olympic games opened on July 28, 1948, in London. On the same day, a unique competition was introduced in London. The Stoke-Mandeville Games for the Paralyzed took place on the playground of the hospital that mainly treated those who were injured in war, including 16 people (14 men and two women). They participated in an archery competition.
The Paralympic event was the brainchild of Dr. Ludwig Guttmann. He realized that he needed to strengthen the patients with small games of the ball; hence wheelchair polo, darts, basketball, and archery were introduced for patients. After two years, the Stoke-Mandeville competition expanded with sixty participants, and javelin throwing was added. In 1954, 14 countries participated at Stoke-Mandeville.In 1960, 23 countries took part with 400 athletes at the Olympics Stadium in Rome. Athletes participated in many competitions, including club throwing, swimming, archery, fencing, shot put, javelin, snooker, and table tennis. Over a decade, the Paralympic sports were held only for summer sports. Later, in 1976, the first Winter Games were held in Sweden. 16 nations participated with 198 athletes.
The Modern Paralympics
In 1988, the first Summer Games of the modern Paralympics were inaugurated in Seoul, South Korea. 100,000 audiences watched the Opening Ceremonies, which included skydivers in which thousands of children and 700 wheelchair dancers performed. More than 950 world records were set. Trischa Zorn, who represented the US, earned 12 gold medals in swimming and set 9 world records. The first Winter Games were organized in 1992, in Tignes and Albertville, France. Since then, Winter and Summer Olympics have followed and taken place every 2 years.