The Paralympics: all you need to know

The Paralympics: all you need to know
By Euronews
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The 2016 Rio Paralympic Games are the 15th edition of the competition The Games first took to the world stage in Rome in 1960, a week after the regular summer Olympics ended in the…


The 2016 Rio Paralympic Games are the 15th edition of the competition

The Games first took to the world stage in Rome in 1960, a week after the regular summer Olympics ended in the city. Wednesday night’s dazzling Opening Ceremony at Rio’s Maracana Stadium is a far cry from the humble beginnings of disabled sport.

This is the moment we've been waiting for! Clodoaldo Silva lights the #ParalympicFlame at the #Rio2016#Paralympics

— Paralympic Games (@Paralympics) 8 septembre 2016

The Paralympics were conceived at the 1948 London Olympics by German neurologist Ludwig Guttmann, who four years earlier opened a spinal injuries centre at Stoke Mandeville hospital to the north west of London after fleeing Nazi Germany.

Disgusted at the sight of men dying from unrelated infections on average three months after breaking their back, Guttmann worked to make his patients more mobile before gradually introducing sports such as archery and javelin throwing as part of their rehabilitation.

The precursor to the #Paralympics was known at the Stoke Mandeville Games

— DisabilitySportNews (@Dis_sportsnews) 7 septembre 2016

The Paralympic Games are organised by the International Paralympic Committee and not by the IOC.

The Rio Paralympic Games will be held from September 7-18

More than 4,000 athletes are participating in the Paralympic Games in Rio, representing 176 delegations. By comparison, there were 207 delegations at the Rio Olympics (205 countries plus an independent team and a team of refugees). In all more than 11,000 athletes took part.

As in the Olympics, a team of refugees will take part for the first time at the Paralympics. It consists of Syrian swimmer and flagbearer Ibrahim Al-Hussein and Shahrad Nasajpour, an Iranian discus thrower who has been granted asylum in the United States. The pair led the parade of para-athletes at the Opening Ceremony.

The #Paralympics start tonight - and Ibrahim will be leading the parade of athletes into the stadium!

— UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) 7 septembre 2016

Unlike the Olympics, the entire Russian team has been excluded from the competition. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee amid the state-sponsored doping scandal. Moscow has denounced the move as politically motivated, saying that dozens of innocent athletes are being punished. Russia has responded by hosting its own games on September 8 and 9.

#Russia opens alternative tournament for national #Paralympians barred from

— ГК РФ в Женеве (@RusConsulGen) 7 septembre 2016

Facts and Figures

The Rio Paralympic Games will see competition in 23 sports. In all, 528 events will be organised. Two new disciplines are making their debut in these Games: Triathlon (or para-triathlon) and Canoe.

Then there is Boccia, “a test of strategy” using a set of balls similar to pétanque. This is a specific event at the Paralympic Games. This discipline has no equivalent in the Olympics.

No fewer than 2,347 gold, silver and bronze medals are up for grabs in the Paralympics. For the Olympics, the total was 2,102.

Paralympic heroes and heroines

One medal would be enough to crown the careers of most athletes. But just take a look at this.

Swedish shooting competitor Jonas Jacobsson is one of the all-time greats, with 30 medals including 17 gold!

US swimmer Trischa Zorn is the most decorated Paralympian of all-time, with a staggering haul of 55 medals,
including 41 golds!

From Trischa Zorn to Jonas Jacobsson, the 5 greatest Paralympians in history

— Sport360° (@Sport360) 8 septembre 2016

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