The Paralympic Games are held every four years. This year the event is being held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The Games will begin on 7th September and a closing ceremony will take place on 18th September.
Sport for athletes with an impairment have existed for more than 100 years, and the first sport clubs for the deaf were already in existence in 1888 in Berlin. After World War II, it was more widely introduced to assist the large number of war veterans and civilians who had been injured during wartime.
In 1944, at the request of the British Government, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann opened a spinal injuries centre at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Great Britain, and in time, rehabilitation sport evolved to recreational sport and then to competitive sport.
On 29 July 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr. Guttmann organised the first competition for wheelchair athletes which he named the Stoke Mandeville Games, a milestone in Paralympics history. They involved 16 injured servicemen and women who took part in archery. In 1952, Dutch ex-servicemen joined the Movement and the International Stoke Mandeville Games were founded.
These Games later became the Paralympic Games which first took place in Rome, Italy in 1960 featuring 400 athletes from 23 countries. Since then they have taken place every four years. In 1976 the first Winter Games in Paralympics history were held in Sweden, and as with the Summer Games, have taken place every four years.
In 1964, the International Sport Organisation for the Disabled (IOSD) was formed to give opportunities for those athletes who could not join the International Stoke Mandeville Games: visually impaired, amputees, persons with cerebral palsy and paraplegics. The ISOD and the organisation pushed very hard to include blind and amputee athletes into the Toronto 1976 Paralympics and athletes with cerebral palsy in 1980 in Arnhem.
On 22 September 1989, the International Paralympic Committee was founded in Dusseldorf, Germany to act as the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement.
The word “Paralympic” derives from the Greek preposition “para” (beside or alongside) and the word “Olympic”. Its meaning is that Paralympics are the parallel Games to the Olympics and illustrates how the two movements exist side-by-side.
The Rio Paralympic 2016 Mascot is called Tom. Have a look at his factfile.
Who am I? I am the Paralympic mascot, a magical creature, a fusion of all the plants in the Brazilian forests. I was born out of an explosion of happiness when we found out the the Paralympics were coming to Rio.
How old am I? I was born on 2nd October 2009, but my age is not counted like yours, so there is no way of knowing exactly.
What do I like to do? I like playing, adventuring outdoors, making friends and relaxing in the forest. I play all the Paralympic sports. I like to read books and learn about the world. I love samba and all kinds of Brazilian music. My best friend is Vinicius, the Rio Olypmic mascot.
What is my special power? I use my head. To get me out of any jam, I pull the craziest objects out of my head of leaves.
Where do I live? I take naps on a water lily in the middle of a refreshing lake. This way I can make the most of photosynthesis - sun bathing for me is like a banquet.
MY MISSION: I know that with creativity, intelligence and determination, we can achieve what we want. My mission is to inspire everybody to use creativity and determination to always reach further and have fun.
Just like the Olympic medals, the Paralympic medals are made using recycled materials. The medals for the Paralympians, however, are even more special. In addition to featuring braille, the Paralympic Games medals include a special innovation; they have a tiny device inside which makes a noise when the medal is shaken, allowing visually impaired athletes to know if they are gold, silver or bronze (gold has the loudest noise, bronze the quietest).
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will feature 4350 athletes who will compete in 528 medal events across 22 sports.
Why not keep up to date with the Paralympic action. You can watch the coverage on television or click on the links below for up to date news stories and results.