A History of the Paralympics - It all began in Rome
Enlarge image Neurologic surgeon Sir Ludwig Guttmann (© picture-alliance/ Photoshot) Before athletes with disabilities competed in olympic disciplines at official sports competitions, they took part in the Olympic Games. The first athlete to win a medal was German-American George Eyser, who won three gold medal in gymnastics with an artificial leg in St Louis in 1904.
At the same time as the London Olympics in 1948 the “Stoke Mandeville Games” started ner Aylesbury. Neurologic surgeon Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a Jewish immigrant from Germany, initiated an archery event for veterans of World War II with a spinal cord injury. A total of 16 archers competed then. Four years later the number of participants rose to 130, with non-British athletes for the first time. The “Stoke Mandeville Games” are considered to be the forerunner of the Paralympic Games.
Enlarge image archery is one of the original medal sports (© picture-alliance/ dpa) In 1960 Rome held the I Paralympic Games, although the term “Paralympics” was not introduced until 1988. For the first time wheelchair users were competing along with veterans of wars. Official medal sports included archery, athletics, dartchery, snooker, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair fencing. Ever since then the Paralympics Games take place every four years. In 1976 in Toronto amputees and visually impaired athletes competed for the first time. It was also the first time that live footage was shown on television
When the organisers of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles refuse to host the Paralympic Games, New York and Stoke Mandeville filled in. This was the only time when the event took place at two venues. Consequently an umbrella organisation was formed, which became responsible for organising the games from that time on. At the same time it was decided that the host city of the Olympic Games will play host to the Pralympic Games as well.
The Summer Paralympic Games in London will be the fourteenth Paralympics, and will take place from 29 August till 9 September 2012. The official mascot of the games is Mandeville, named after the Stoke Mandeville Games.
source: Deutscher Behindertensportverband