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Pathway to the Paralympics

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The editors at Masters in Special Education Degrees decided to research the topic of:

Pathway to the Paralympics

- 8th century B.C.-4th century A.D.: the ancient games played in Olympia, Greece
- April, 1896: Birth of the modern Olympic Game, in Athens, Greece, 1,500 years after being banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I.
- 1948: The first ever Paralympic Games was held in London at the same time as the Summer Olympics. It was called "The Wheelchair Games"
- FACT: The name comes from the Parallel Olympics, shortened to paralympics.


- 1904: The first athlete with a disability to compete in the able-bodied Games was German American gymnast George Eyser. Competed with one artificial leg and earned three gold medals, two silvers and one bronze.
- 1948: German neurologist, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, organized the sports event for WWII soldiers suffering from spinal injuries. At the event, 16 British veterans held an archery competition
- 1952: Year that Dutch athletes participated, and so the first international games for athletes with disabilities took place.
- 1960: First Paralympics games in Rome. 400 wheelchair athletes from 23 countries participate.
- FACT: In 1964, organizers had three names for the Games held in Tokyo. These were:
- --- The International Stoke Mandeville Games
- --- The Tokyo Games for the Physically Handicapped
- --- Paralympics (The Organizing Committee's preferred choice, because it sounded nice)
- FACT: The Organizing Committee actually produced three different sets of information for the Games, which were identical except for the name of the Games.
- 1968: At Tel Aviv games, Members of the German team, when applying for visas, had to complete a questionnaire asking whether they had been de-Nazi-fied.
- 1976: at the Montreal games, athletes with other disabilities were included, including blind athletes.
- FACT: The Paralympics have always been in the same year as the Summer Olympics, but have only been held in the same country since 1988 in Seoul, Korea.
- 1976: the first ever Paralympics Winter Games took place in Sweden. Athletes from 12 countries compete in Alpine and Nordic skiing, also curling, sledge hockey, and the biathlon
- 1984: International Olympic Committee approves use of the term "Paralympics"
- FACT: Hungarian fencer Pal Szekeres, won a bronze medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics, then was disabled in a bus accident, and went on to win three gold medals and three bronze in wheelchair fencing at the Paralympics.
- He is the only person to have won at both, same year.
- 1996: The Atlanta Paralympics Committee pays $1 million to get events on TV. By contrast, $456 million was paid to NBC to broadcast the regular Olympics.
- 2004: 12 yr. old Jessica Long, a double leg amputee from the USA won three gold medals in the pool. She had both legs amputated at 18 months old, but made the US Paralympic team after competing for only two years.
- 2008: South Africa's Oscar Pistorius, the blade runner, a double amputee, wins perhaps the greatest Paralympic sprint race in history.
- FACT: In 2008, South African distance swimmer Natalie Du Toit is second person to compete in both Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- 2012: 4,302 athletes from 164 countries competed; 1,513 of those athletes were women

Women Paralympic athletes

- 1. At London 2012, a record 1,513 female athletes competed in 18 sports.
- 2. In 1992, Barcelona, 700 women competed.
- 3. In 1996, Atlanta, 790 women competed
- 4. 990 in Sydney, 2000
- 5. 1, 165 in Athens, Greece
- 6. 1,383 in Beijing, China 2008


- 1. The Paralympic Games is the world's second largest major international multi-sport event - after the Olympic Games, of course
- 2. 5,000 spectators watched the Opening Ceremony in 1960. In 2012, 80,000 spectators watched the Opening Ceremony
- 3. Trischa Zorn of the USA is the most decorated Paralympian in the history of the Games. Her Paralympic career spanned 24 years from 1980 to 2004. Competed in blind swimming events in 7 Paralympic Games, winning 55 medals - 41 gold
- 4. Of the 20 sports at the Paralympic Games, only 4 are NOT competed in at the regular Olympic Games. These are:
- Goal Ball - a team sport played by visually-impaired athletes who throw or roll a ball with a bell inside it across the end line;
- Boccia - a sport played in teams of pairs by athletes with cerebral palsy. Similar to lawn bowls
- Wheelchair Rugby - played by low-level quadriplegics
- Powerlifting - similar to weightlifting, but using the upper body only.
- 5. There are 6 disability groups in the Paralympic Games: Amputee, Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Cord Injuries, Intellectual Disability, Visual Impairment and 'Les Autres,' which means "the others" and includes all those who don't fit into the other groups - for instance dwarfism, multiple sclerosis, and congenital disorders.

And in 2016 (Rio de Janeiro)

- 1. 4,350 athletes will competing in 526 medal events across 22 sports
- 2. 1,650 of the athletes will be women - a 9.9 per cent increase on London 2012 and more than double the 790 who took part in the Atlanta 1996 Games