About the Paralympic Games
The Paralympics are another Olympic event; in this case, for people with impairments. The Games are also held every four years, after the Olympic Games, and are held at the same venue. In the XIV Paralympic Games in 2012 (London, UK), about 4,300 athletes from a record number of 164 countries and regions competed in 20 separate sports.
To take part in the Paralympic Games, athletes have to meet strict screening standards, which are designated by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). More athletes at higher levels participate in the Games every time they are held. In the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, 448 Olympic records and 304 world records were established.
History of the Paralympic Games
The first Paralympic event was an archery competition, organized by a physician, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann, at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, London, in 1948. This rehabilitation sporting event, for veterans who had suffered damage to their spinal cords in World War II, evolved in time to become an international sport meeting, in 1952.
Since Rome in 1960, it has been held in the same country as the Olympic Games, and since Seoul in 1988 it has been held in the same venues subsequently to the Olympic Games.
The Parallel Olympics
The Paralympics that initially started as a rehabilitation sport program has developed into a competitive sport event for elite athletes. As the eligibility for participation was expanded from those who need to use a wheelchair to persons with various impairments, an official name “Paralympics,” which is derived from “parallel” and “Olympic”, to mean “the other Olympics,” was given to the event.
Cooperative Relationship with the Olympic Games
In the XI Paralympic Games held in Sydney in 2000, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and IPC agreed that the host countries of the Olympic Games shall also organize the Paralympic Games. As a result, the two organizations forged a stronger relationship.
Thus, the Paralympics have continued to evolve as the “the other Olympics”.
(This article is reproduced by the courtesy of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.〈As of July 1st, 2015.〉)