The Paralympics. An opportunity; a chance; a moment, for individuals with impairments to compete against others from all over the world.
With the much anticipated 2020 Paralympic Games held in Tokyo only now 12 months away, it’s a great time to reflect on the rich history that comes with the games and the inspiring display of human strength it has become.
The word “Paralympic” derives from the Greek preposition, “Para” meaning beside or along. This word, paired with “Olympic”, gives the Paralympics a whole other meaning. This meaning suggests the Games are at the side of and parallel to the Olympics. It articulates exactly how the world has come to see athletes across both Olympic games – as equals.
In July 1948, the same day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, German-born British neurologist Dr Ludwig Guttmann established the first competition that laid the foundations for what later become the Paralympics. The competition brought 16 injured service men and women together to compete in archery. It later became the Stoke Mandeville Games and was absolutely a milestone for the Paralympic Movement.
The Stoke Mandeville Games gained momentum, gathering a following and greater support until in 1952, Dutch ex-servicemen participated in the games alongside their British counterparts. From this, the International Stoke Mandeville Games was born.
In 1960, the first Paralympic Games took place in Rome, Italy, featuring 400 athletes from 23 countries. Today, the Paralympic Games are one of the world’s most significant multi-sport events, with more than 4,250 athletes from 164 countries.
And here we are now, just 12 months away from the 16th Summer Paralympic games ready to watch our Aussie team (sorry to any ex-pats out there, but we love our Aussie athletes), give it everything.
We’re not alone in our anticipation – the Paralympics Australia Facebook page has over 64,000 loyal followers who’re getting behind the team while the Federal Government providing the Para-athletes with $12 million in funding. The funding is there to help effectively manage the planning, coordination and delivery of the Australian Paralympic Team aiming for success in Tokyo.
Prepare to be inspired. It’s time to start getting to know your athletes, deciding which sports to stay up for and put the dates in your calendar.
The 2020 Paralympics kick off on Tuesday August 25 and run until Sunday September 6.
If you want to keep up to date with Paralympic news, keep up to date via their socials:
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