We are almost exactly five months away from the 14th world Paralympic Games presented by host nation, Great Britain. This 2012 Paralympics, which will take place from August 29 through September 9, marks a historic return of the games to the country of its origin. The games originated as a sports competition, hosted by Dr. Ludwig Guttmann of Stoke Mandeville Hospital, for World War II veterans with spinal cord injuries. The 1948 International Wheelchair Games coincided with that year’s 1948 Summer Olympics which were held in London. In 1952, the Dutch joined Dr. Guttmann’s games and the first international competition of the sort was born.
The London 2012 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has anticipated that this will be the biggest Paralympic Games ever! The 2012 Paralympics will feature a record 4,200 athletes from 160 different countries that will compete in 20 captivating sports—from wheelchair basketball to skateboarding to cycling to rock climbing. If you weren’t one of the estimated one million ticket purchasers in the first week after tickets went on sale in September of 2010, don’t fret: the LOCOG has announced that many tickets are still available at £50 and below and the vast majority of tickets are less than £20 (about $38); day passes for multiple events are also available. For the rest of you who are eager to learn more about this year’s historic Paralympics, stay tuned to NARICspotlight for the latest updates and broadcast schedules.
To learn more about the origin and history of the Paralympics, visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/disability_sport/7582206.stm. For more on the London 2012 Games, visit http://www.paralympic.org/Events/London2012.