11 Interesting Facts about the Paralympics
A major international multisport event, the Paralympic Games give those athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities, a chance to reach for the stars. We give you some of the interesting facts about these Games.
Sir Ludwig Guttmann is credited with being the one who initiated the Paralympics. In 1948, he held a sporting event for those World War II veterans who had spinal injuries. This was organized in Stoke Mandeville, England.
It was in 2008 that South African distance swimmer Natalie Du Toit became the second person to compete in both Paralympics and Summer Olympics. She is the first athlete ever to carry her country’s flag at the Opening Ceremonies of both the Games.
It is American swimmer Trischa Zorn who tops the all time Paralympics medals table with 55 medals. Of these 55 medals, 41 are gold.
You will be amazed to know that in four different weight categories, the world records of Paralympic power-lifting exceed those of the able-bodied Games.
It was in 1976 that Sweden hosted the first Winter Paralympic Games. This was also the first time that participants were athletes other than those who were wheelchair-bound.
The first time that the Paralympics and the Summer Olympics were held in the same city and venues was in 1988, at Seoul.
Those who are deaf, cannot participate in the Paralympics. For deaf athletes, there is a separate sports event called the Deaflympics.
The Paralympics has had its own share of controversies. During the 2004 Paralympics, there were 50 broadcasters, and there wasn’t a single broadcaster from the United States. Americans had to wait for a couple of months to watch the coverage.
When Rome first hosted the Paralympic Games in the same venue as its Olympic Games, there were 5,000 spectators who watched the opening Ceremony. Amazingly, the 2012 Opening Ceremony had up to 80,000 spectators.
Tanni-Grey Thompson is one of Britain’s most successful Paralympians. She not only participated in wheelchair racing (in the 100 meter, 400 meter , and 800 meter events) but also in basketball. She managed to get 16 medals, between 1988 and 2004, and 11 of them were gold.
There are only four sports in the Paralympic Games out of the total 20, that are not competed at the Olympic Games. These four sporting events are Goal Ball, Boccia, Wheelchair Rugby, and Powerlifting.