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The Evolution of the Paralympics - The 3 most Important Paralympic Games that led to its Success

Updated: Jun 7, 2019


If you followed the advice in our 'Top 3 Parasports Films' article, and watched those movies, then you know that the Stoke Mandeville “International Wheelchair Games” in 1948 were the foundation for the Paralympic Games in its current state. The Stoke Mandeville “International Wheelchair Games” was basically a sports competition for British World War II veteran patients with spinal cord injuries.


They were planned so as to coincide with the opening day of the 1948 London Summer Olympics. But what were the other important milestones along the way, that have lead to the success and popularity of a once obscure, side-event?

Photos: International Paralympic Committee Logos (Copyright IPC)


These are our pick for the top 3 Paralympic Games that most influenced the success of the Paralympics. And we can’t wait to see what the Pyeongchang 2018 will bring!he Paralympics. The only disability that qualified participation in these Paralympics was spinal cord injury. 1960 saw about 400 athletes from 23 countries competing in 8 sports

However, it was only at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics and Paralympics, that the Paralympics were held in the same host city, using the same facilities and right after the Olympics. A boast worthy 3057 athletes from 61 nations participated in 16 sports at the Summer event.

The Winter Olympic Games were first held in 1924 at Chamonix in France, and the first Winter Paralympic Games were held in 1976 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. At this time, the Winter and Summer Games were held in the same year (but at different host cities), and the Summer Paralympics were held in Toronto in 1976. It was only after 1992, Albertville that the Winter Games took on its new identity.


In 1994, Lillehammer in Norway hosted the first ever Winter Olympics independent from a Summer Olympics year. It was also here that for the first time, that the Winter Paralympic Games were held in the same location as the Winter Olympic Games. By this time, the number of participating athletes had swelled to 471 from 31 nations in 5 sports.

Lillehammer 1994 Winter Paralympic Games (source: IPC)

These are our pick for the top 3 Paralympic Games that most influenced the success of the Paralympics. And we can’t wait to see what the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympics will bring!

Article by Pritha Chakravarti for Parasports World


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Stay tuned. Parasports World provides parasports news, paralympic sports entertainment and disability sports community. Find great parasport and inspiring para-athletes from the Paralympic Games, the Invictus Games and parasport events.


Parasports World provides parasports and paralympic sports news, entertainment and community to a global audience interested in sports. Our vision is to redefine the way that parasport is reported: It’s great sports by great athletes. Our mission is to bundle worldwide parasports enthusiasts by delivering content that they love to see and engage with; from the Paralympic Games, the Invictus Games and other inspiring parasport events and championships.

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