The Paralympic Games are an elite sport event for world-class athletes with a physical disability. The Paralympics emphasize, however, the participant’s athletic achievements rather than their disability. The Paralympic Games are governed internationally by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
The Paralympic Movement has grown dramatically since its first days. The number of athletes participating in Paralympic Summer Games has increased from 400 athletes from 23 countries in Rome in 1960 to 4,237 athletes from 164 countries in London in 2012.
The origin of the Paralympic Games dates back to 1948 when Sir Ludwig Guttmann organized a sports competition involving World War II veterans with a spinal cord injury in Stoke Mandeville, England. Four years later, competitors from the Netherlands joined the games and an international movement was born. Olympic style games for athletes with a disability were organized for the first time in Rome in 1960, now called Paralympics. In Toronto in 1976, other disability groups were added and the idea of merging together different disability groups for international sport competitions was born. In the same year, the first Paralympic Winter Games took place in Sweden.
The Paralympic Games have always been held in the same year as the Olympic Games. Since the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games and the Albertville 1992 Winter Paralympic Games they have also taken place at the same venues as the Olympics. On 19 June 2001, an agreement was signed between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) securing this practice for the future. From the 2012 bid process onwards, the host city chosen to host the Olympic Games will be obliged to also host the Paralympics.
Wheelchair Basketball at the Paralympic Games
Wheelchair basketball is one of the most competitive, dynamic sports contested at the Paralympic Summer Games. The sport has been a part of the Paralympic programme since the first official Games in Rome in 1960. The women’s competition joined the programme at the Games in Tel Aviv in 1968.