The History of the Development of the Paralympic Games and the Countries Participating In Them and Their Most Important Results

Ibero-American Journal of Exercise and Sports Psychology

Review - (2023) Volume 18, Issue 1

The History of the Development of the Paralympic Games and the Countries Participating In Them and Their Most Important Results

Zahiah Sabah Abdulsalam1*, Wafaa Hussein Abdulameer2 and Jamal Sakran Hamza3
*Correspondence: Zahiah Sabah Abdulsalam, Faculty of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Baghdad, Iraq, Email:
1Faculty of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Baghdad, Iraq
2Faculty of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Baghdad, Iraq
3Faculty of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Baghdad, Iraq

Received: 15-Jan-2023 Published: 27-Feb-2023


Human history is the mirror of nations, reflecting their past, and translating their present, and through it, the steps of its future inspire humanity. Historical studies are a means of studying the events and phenomena that occurred in the past through their historical stages. It is based on following up on the changes that occur in any phenomenon or event and deducing the features of development, in an attempt to interrogate the historical facts.
Sports games are one of the most important activities invented by a man from ancient times to the present day. The goal of these activities has varied since ancient times, historical ages, the dark ages, and the Renaissance. There was a philosophy for every citizen of the world for the purpose of physical activity. Some linked physical activity to the treatment of diseases, as in the Chinese civilization, some others linked physical activity to the mental one for the integration of the individual, as in the Greek civilization, and others were aimed at preserving the entity of the state and fighting the invaders.


Human. Paralympic Games. Humanity. Sports games.


Human history is the mirror of nations, reflecting their past, and translating their present, and through it, the steps of its future inspire humanity. Historical studies are a means of studying the events and phenomena that occurred in the past through their historical stages. It is based on following up on the changes that occur in any phenomenon or event and deducing the features of development, in an attempt to interrogate the historical facts.

Sports games are one of the most important activities invented by a man from ancient times to the present day. The goal of these activities has varied since ancient times, historical ages, the dark ages, and the Renaissance.There was a philosophy for every citizen of the world for the purpose of physical activity. Some linked physical activity to the treatment of diseases, as in the Chinese civilization, some others linked physical activity to the mental one for the integration of the individual, as in the Greek civilization, and others were aimed at preserving the entity of the state and fighting the invaders.

This matter was confined to those without physical disabilities, and as the many wars between countries left

a large number of disabled people who lost their limbs or changed their psychological or nervous condition, and this remained the case until the return of the Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens, which was the door that legislates the establishment and involvement of (the physically disabled). Paralympics and Special Olympics (for the mentally handicapped).

They also consider the establishment of the Paralympic Games to be the largest and most important global sporting event for the “people with disabilities” handicapped, which expresses the goal of physical activity for this group of the present society.

In view of the importance of this large gathering and the interest in this segment of society, it is noted the extent of development and the great interest in them through the establishment of the first Paralympic competitions and the number of participating countries as well as the number of athletes and games participating in it, as it is noted in the first Paralympic session the first session of the official tournament was organized in the city of Rome in 1960 With the participation of 23 countries and 400 athletes, the championship witnessed the presence of 8 sports. The 16th Summer Paralympics will be held in Tokyo in 2020, with the participation of 163 countries. This tournament was distinguished by the fact that it included the largest number of participants with 4537 participants, and the number of sports in this edition reached 22 sports. The problem of the study is the lack of research and studies that dealt with this subject in libraries, as well as the reluctance of postgraduate students to study the historical curriculum due to its lack of sources. The aim of the research is to focus on knowing the history of the Paralympic Games for the period (1969-2020) and knowing the importance of research in knowing the number of participating countries and athletes and the number of sports in each Paralympic Games.

International Paralympic Committee:

If the modern Olympic sport is the French Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, its eraser and its launcher in Athens in the year 1896, then the sport of people with disabilities is considered the German doctor Dr. British Stoke Mandeville, in the first sports games for people with disabilities who use wheelchairs (arrow throwing) Which bore the same name (Stoke Mandeville Games) on the same day as the Olympic Games in London 1948. And this was the first organizational gesture (Bani 2021) The Reality of Paralympic Sports in the West Asian Region, Amman - Dar Al-Biruni for Printing and Publishing 2021) pg. 66

Likewise, “the credit for the establishment of the Paralympic Games goes to the German surgeon Ludwig Guttmann, who fled from Nazi Germany as a refugee to Britain in 1636, and after that he worked in Stock Mandeville Hospital as a neurosurgeon and helped rehabilitate the disabled of the Second World War from the categories of paralyzed people with spinal cord injuries, and involved them in Competitive sports games for the purpose of developing mental activity, restoring confidence and self-discipline, and raising morale and competition. It was called the Stoke Game Mandeville in 1960 and included categories of people with disabilities in wheelchairs. It was intended to coincide with the Olympic Games that year. In the year 1960, the Stoke Mandeville Games were held for the second time in Stock Mandeville Hospital, and these games became international for the participation of the Dutch war invalids (Gilbert. Keith & Schantz. Otto J. 2008) (Table 1 and Figure 1).

Table 1: Paralympics, number of participants, and number of sports.

Session Space Years Number of
number of athletes number of
Events Number of
first winner
Woman Man
1 Rome-Italy 1960 17 45 164 8 113 80 Italy
2 Tokyo- Japan 1964 20 71 195 9 143 123 United State
3 Tel Aviv 1968 28 196 578 10 188 99 United State
4 Heidelberg-Germany 1972 41 268 653 10 188 67 Germany
5 Toronto- Canada 1976 41 270 1000 13 448 155 United State
6 Arnhem- Netherlands 1980 42 428 1225 13 590 195 United State
7 New- York United States 1984 54 541 1569 18 975 397 United State
8 South Korea - Seoul 1988 60 671 2371 18 733 269 United State
9 Spain -Barcelona 1992 84 699 2300 16 489 175 United State
10 Atlanta-United State 1996 85 197 711 19 210 78 United State
11 Sydney -Australia 2000 123 988 2883 19 550 149 Australia
12 Athens- Greece 2004 135 1149 2600 19 519 141 China
13 Beijing-China 2008 146 1367 2585 20 472 221 China
14 London - Britain 2012 164 1502 2741 20 503 223 China
15 Rio de Janeiro- Brazil 2016 160 1671 2657 22 528 239 China
16 Tokyo - Japan 2020 162 1846 2546 22 539 231 China

Figure 1. Shows the graphs of the Paralympic Games, the number of medals, the games and the participating countries.

Paralympic Games: (1960-1972)

The Second World War, however brutal, was largely responsible for starting the Stoke-Mandeville Games, which later developed into the Paralympic Games shortly after the end of the war. The person behind the initiative that led to the Games, Ludwig Guttmann, was in the beginning also endured Hitler's Nazi brutality in Germany before fleeing to England. Here he succeeded in developing a rehabilitation program for spinal cord injury patients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital near Aylesbury. This program included sport, physical activity and moderate forms of competition, which led to the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948. Like sports in general, this competition multiplied and became the third largest sporting event in the world, the Paralympic Games. However, before analyzing the development of the Paralympic Games, more attention should be paid to the man behind the idea of creating a sports competition for people with disabilities on an equal footing. With the Olympic Games for the Olympic Games.”( Rademeyer, C. 2015).

As the International Paralympic Committee Archive confirms, “Towards the end of the 1950s, Guttmann had discussions with Dr. Antonio Maglio, Director of the Spine Center opened by the Italian Istituto Nazionale for both the Infortuni sul Lavoro (INAIL) and the Spine Unit in Rome, regarding the possibility of offering Paralympic Games. The 1960 Stoke-Mandeville International was held outside of Britain for the first time. Now, the Paralympic sports movement has evolved from a local event in England into a famous international event.

At the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, The International Olympic Committee has recognized the Stoke-Mandeville International Games as an associate member of the IOC. Known today, the Games took place in Rome shortly after the completion of the 1960 Olympic Games. Held from September 18 to 25, 1960, 400 athletes from 23 countries competed in eight sporting events: shooting, athletics, "shooting", snooker, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair fencing. Not used yet. The name Paralympic Games was officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee only in 1984 and then dated to include the 1960 Paralympic Games in Rome. The word Paralympic is derived from the Greek preposition "para". (beside or next to) which means that the Paralympic Games have a status similar to the Olympic Games and take place in parallel with them; The two movements exist side by side. The opening ceremony of the 1960 Paralympic Games drew a crowd of 5,000 spectators, who welcomed the bar-chair athletes with great glee. There were 400 athletes from 23 different countries competing for 57 medals in eight different sports. Although Italy and Great Britain took the most medals, the 1960 Paralympic Games were about more than just medals. Guttmann himself summed up the Paralympic Games by saying: “The overwhelming majority of competitors and escorts fully understood the meaning of the Rome Games as a new mode of reintegration of the paralyzed.” in society, as well as in the world of sports” (Bailey, S. 2008).

Until) on October 24, 1964, in the Meiji Olympic Park, the Tokyo Olympic Games were drawing to a close. Avery Brundage, the fifteenth president of the International Olympic Committee, declared that these Games were not only a public success, but a great success. In fact, they were Hosting the Games is a historic event that had a great impact on Tokyo and throughout Japan.The Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee noted in its application that Tokyo 1964 was not only beneficial in promoting economic development and social reconstruction, but also instilled a new positive attitude in the Japanese people that was important Defining clear results during the early stages of planning for the Games.To achieve this will require not only first-class sports venues and friendly and comprehensive service to the Olympic Village, as well as transport facilities, ports, roads and suitable environmental conditions. Observers from Mexico attended the 1964 Tokyo Paralympics to assess the organization of such event in their own country four years later.As debate grew among scholars, the United States offered to send delegates to Mexico City to investigate the potential effects of altitude on athletes and irrigation. Paralyzed people with spinal injuries. Representatives of the International Stoke-Mandeville Games Committee were planning to travel to Mexico, of course, for discussions with the organizing committee there for the upcoming games. But in 1966, the commission received a letter from Mexico saying that it would definitely not be able to host the Games there. The Mexican government cited technical difficulties as the reason for its inability to host the Paralympics in conjunction with the Olympics. This was very discouraging and broke with the youth tradition of games being held in the Olympic year being located in the same city or country as the Olympic Games. But there were persistent problems with political stability in Mexico and human rights concerns, and from the competitors' point of view, there was insufficient knowledge of the effects of altitude on people with disabilities. Aryeh Fink, chairman of the Israel International Stoke Mandeville Games Committee, and an Israeli government official attended the 1966 Games at Aylesbury to formally extend Israel's invitation to hold the Games Stock Mandeville International in 1968 in Israel. This was very happy for Guttmann, as the sequence of games outside Stoke Mandeville could, at least, be preserved in the Olympic year - even if the sporting celebration could not be held in the same country as the Olympic Games themselves. He was also quietly delighted at the opportunity to take the games to Israel, the home of his religious roots.

Guttmann has had longstanding associations with Israeli medical professionals who work with people who have had spinal injuries, and Israeli teams have traveled to Aylesbury since 1954. The team is a veteran of the Stoke Mandeville International Games. The Israel Foundation for Handicapped Children (ILAN) provided facilities for the 1968 Paralympic Games in Ramat Gan, a short distance outside of Tel Aviv. When plans for the 1968 Tel Aviv Paralympics began to take shape, it was clear that this would be a time of great celebration: The 20th anniversary of the Stoke-Mandeville Games coincided with the celebrations associated with the 20th anniversary. To establish the state). (Gold, J.R., & Gold, M.M. 2007) asserts, “Although three observers were sent to Tokyo, Mexico City refused the Games in 1968 due to “technical difficulties.” Instead, they were held at the Israeli Foundation for Handicapped Children's Sports Center in Ramat Ganeb. Acknowledgment from Tel Aviv (Israel).

Through table (1), we notice that the number of participating countries has increased from the first session of 1960, in which the number of participating countries was 17, to 41 countries in 1972, and this number caused the increase in the number of participants, women and men, to four or five times the number, as two games were entered. Two new games, bringing the number of games to ten in 1972, in addition to the increase in the number of sporting events to fifty events over the first number in 1960. In view of the country joining the Paralympics, 80% will be the winner, but the United States of America won the second round 1964-1968 and Germany won the fourth round with a number of medals, as shown in table (1), with 67 medals.

Paralympic Games: (1972-1980)

The fourth edition of the Summer Paralympic Games was held in Heidelberg, West Germany, from August 2 to August 11, 1972, under the auspices of German President Gustav Heinemann. The fourth edition of the Paralympic Games was not held. The Summer Olympics were held in Munich, which hosted the Olympics that year, due to a lack of adequate housing for the Paralympic athletes. The organizers held a ceremony for the opening of the Paralympic Games at the Thungspiel Stadium in Heidelberg, in the presence of the then German President Gustav Heinemann and a number of dignitaries in Germany. 922 athletes, 654 male and 268 female players, from 41 countries participated in this Paralympic Games. The lawn bowl sport was included with the nine other sports. The number of the Paralympic Games has become 10 sports: athletics, shooting, arrow throwing, table tennis, basketball, weightlifting, weaponry, lawn bowling, swimming and snooker on 28 gold.

(Bailey, S. 2008) notes that “the sporting phenomenon of the Olympic Games brought astonishment admiration for the outstanding achievement of individuals such as Mark Spitz (USA) and Shane Gould (Australia) and the outstanding achievement of individuals such as Mark Spitz (USA) and Shane Gould (Australia) Kornelia Ender (East Germany) in the swimming pool, Olga Korbut (USSR) in the gymnastics arena, and sprinter Valeri Borzov (USSR) all capture the hearts of sports fans around the world... were introduced for the first time for quadriplegic athletes Restrictions faced by the organizers prevented the proposed competitions for amputees from being held in Heidelberg Another important breakthrough in Heidelberg was the organization of exhibition events for blind athletes: goalball and 100m track The positive responses to these demonstrations led to the full inclusion of the medal events in the upcoming Paralympic Games in “As Reismüller, R., & Parry, J. (2017) asserts that since 1976, the accepted categories of Other handicaps gradually entered the Paralympics, some of which have a history Will and Independent, starting with Blind. Amputees in Toronto 1976 and athletes with cerebral palsy in Arnhem 1980. . In 1984, the Americans agreed to host the Games for all disabilities, but not in the Olympic host city (Los Angeles instead, they were to be split between New York and the University of Illinois at Champaign, Los Angeles). An arrangement that faltered when the latter withdrew, due to funding problems, just four months before it was due the games. As a result, wheelchair events were hastily rearranged at Stoke Mandeville. 13 Ironically, these were the first games recognized by the committee the International Olympic Games are officially designated as the Paralympics.

(Gilbert, K., Schantz, O.J., & Schantz, O. (Eds.). 2008) indicates that “from Seoul (1988) to Athens (2004).” In a session at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, a decisive change was observed and from that moment on, the celebration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in identical venues of competition. I became this the point was made official on June 19, 2011, under an agreement signed between the IOC and the committee the International Paralympics. This agreement states that, starting in 2008, the Olympic Games will be held Paralympic after the Olympics, the same sites and infrastructure will be used. of the candidacy procedures for 2012, the city chosen to host the Olympic Games will also be obligated to organize the games Paralympic. The fate of the Paralympic Games is now determined by the fate of the Olympic Games. However, it is necessary to note that since the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City 2002, the same Steering Committee is responsible for organizing the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The network is responsible for organizing the Olympic and Paralympic Games. As the network created the ticketing technology and transportation for the Olympic Games are the same as those used for the Games Paralympics. Forty-four years after the Paralympic Games were held in Rome 1960; More than 3,806 athletes from about 136 countries came to Athens in 2004 to compete in the Paralympic Games. In fact, in terms of attendance figures, the Olympics remain the Paralympic Games is the world's second largest multi-sport celebration, with the Olympic Games".

The 2008 Olympic Games in China attracted nearly 4,000 athletes from 146 countries. With nearly 1.3 million visitors, the audience interest is impressive. As in all major competitions, success at the Paralympics is not randomly distributed among countries. Some countries are more successful than others. This is partly attributable to differences in the countries' socio-economic background, partly to the sporting culture and political support in the country. (Buts, C., et al. 2013). The 2008 Beijing Paralympics also saw a record 1.82 million tickets sold, with an additional 1.62 million tickets offered to children, education and community groups. The opening and closing ceremonies were sold out as well as all swimming events and most athletics events. The Games have spread to three regions in China with sailing in Qingdao and equestrian competitions in Hong Kong Adaptive rowing making its first appearance on the Paralympic program The remaining sports are spread out in various venues in Beijing The Paralympic Games in London will be in 2012 is the largest to date, with 4,200 athletes from 160 countries competing in 20 different sports two Competing athletes will have a wide range of disabilities, although the International Paralympic Council (IPC) classifies 10 specific categories of disability as eligible to participate. : weak muscle tone, poor passive range of motion, limb deficiency, leg length difference, short stature, hypertonia, ataxia, athesia, visual impairment, and intellectual impairment.) (Jefferies, P., Gallagher, P., & Dunne, S. 2012).

London 2012 Olympic Games; It was certainly a great environment created in St. Rotford, London. In fact, everyone in the UK seemed to be talking about the Paralympics rather than the weather. It clearly brought about many changes in equality and diversity rights. (Ahmed, N. 2013). “The XV Paralympic Summer Games were held in Rio de Janeiro from 7 to 18 September 2016. This global event is governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and its purpose is to engage athletes People with disabilities in competitions held in multiple sports. In 2016, a total of 4,342 athletes participated in the Games, with 159 countries participating in a total of 528 events grouped around 22 sports. The breakdown by gender was 2,657 athletes and 1,671 non-athletes. Head expressed During the opening ceremony, the International Patent Federation showed that these brave athletes are likely to change people's perception based on the clear limitations of a world of possibilities and opportunities.” (Prado, C. 2022). P336. (Derman, W., et. al. 2018) notes that “The Paralympic sport continues to grow with its popularity increasing among competitors and spectators alike. In fact, the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio saw the largest group of athletes participating in this pinnacle event, That is 4,378 athletes competing in 22 sports as Tokyo prepared to make history in August 2020 by becoming the first city in the world to host the International Paralympic Games on two occasions, countless organizers, athletes and promoters.

Volunteers and politicians give their enthusiastic support. Many have expressed their expectations that the 2020 Paralympic Games will be an inspiring success, raise awareness and ultimately lead to improvements in the lives of people with disabilities in Japan. Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko embodied such enthusiasm and hope when she spoke to the Foreign Messengers Club in August 2017 about the upcoming Games. Her striking statement that "giving weight to hosting the Paralympics is more important than a successful Olympics" was instantly picked up and circulated as a ringing endorsement of the Paralympic movement and its benefits. Whether or not this was a case of political hyperbole, Koike's announcement three years before the 2020 Olympics made everyone aware that the Paralympics to her, Tokyo, and Japan in general, mattered-perhaps more than the Olympics" (Frost, D.J. 2021) (P1) By looking at table number one, we note the victory of the United States from the second to the tenth round in 1996. It is ranked first and the number of medals is t, and the degree of success of some individual countries in sports varies greatly, while some countries dominate in a specific sports discipline, Other countries will have elite athletes in various games, as well as China's domination of the last five editions of the Olympic tournaments from 2004 to 2020, since China is economically prosperous and therefore. Economically prosperous countries are the most successful. The underlying reason is that wealthy countries have more resources readily available to invest in top-level sports. Moreover, they tend to have a larger healthy population whose basic needs are such that nutrition, housing, and clothing are generally satisfied. Thus, more time and money can be devoted to less basic needs such as culture and sports, and then they tend to take a more prominent role in society. A second consistent finding in the literature suggests that countries with larger populations are more successful. This, of course, is not too surprising since it reflects that countries with larger populations draw athletes from a much larger pool of talent. In addition, the role of population may reflect the size of markets, and thus the commercial value of athletes in the marketing campaigns of T companies. In other words, it may also be the case that athletes from larger countries may find it easier to reap the financial benefits from performances sports” (Buts. 2013 p137).

Appendix 1: Shows the summer Paralympics programmer (Gilbert. Keith & Schantz. Otto J. 2008).

No. Paralympics game Years
1 Shooting 1960
2 athletics 1960
3 bokia 1984
4 bowls 1968 - 1988, 1996
5 Cycling 1988
6 Riding 1996
7 Futsal 2004
8 Football with seven players 1984
9 Joule 1976
10 Judo 2004
11 Weightlifting 1964
12 Women weightlifting 2000
13 Rowing 2008
14 Sailing 2000
15 Shooting 1976
16 Table Tennis 1960
17 Volleyball - general 1976 - 1996
18 Wheelchair tennis 1992
19 Volleyball - sitting 1980
20 Wheelchair basketball 1960
21 Rugby wheelchair 2000
22 Wheelchair duel 1960
23 Swimming 1960


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Derman, W., Runciman, P., Schwellnus, M., Jordaan, E., Blauwet, C., Webborn, N.,& Stomphorst, J. (2018). High precompetition injury rate dominates the injury profile at the Rio 2016 Summer Paralympic Games: a prospective cohort study of 51 198 athlete days. British journal of sports medicine, 52(1), P5.

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