PARALYMPIC GAMES: HISTORY AND MODERNITY
It’s no secret that the more a person moves, the better his health. This truth applies to everyone without exception, and especially to people with disabilities. Indeed, often the state and other people do not pay them enough attention. For many people with disabilities, playing sports is one of the few ways to show everyone that they are the same as us. In addition, it is the most powerful factor for their rehabilitation.
They tried to include people with disabilities in the 19th century. This year, the first club for people with poor hearing was created in Berlin. Already in August 1924 the first competitions were held. The national teams of the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Poland, France and Czechoslovakia participated in them. There were also Italian, Romanian and Hungarian athletes. There were no federations of these countries then.
The Olympic Games included the following sports: cycling, athletics, shooting, swimming and football.
In the same year, on August 16, a committee was formed (IOC) for the deaf. In 1926, the charter of the new organization was adopted. From this date, began to hold competitions for the deaf. Then other European countries joined the IOGG – Germany, Denmark, Finland, Yugoslavia and Switzerland. The rest of Europe joined these games only after the war.
As early as 1944, a specialized training program was developed for people with diseases of the musculoskeletal system in Stoke Mandeville, which became part of the overall course of treatment. It was founded by Professor Ludwig Gutman. He also became the director of this center and the president of the association for persons with disabilities.
In the summer of 1948, the largest Paralympic Games of the postwar era took place. Athletes from all over Western Europe arrived in the UK. Significantly expanded the range of competitions. Only in one discipline – archery involved 16 athletes. The world community supported this idea. Games with the participation of the disabled became a real holiday, and since 1952 all European countries sent their sports delegations to competitions.
Expanded and categories of athletes. Even people with spinal cord injury could compete for the gold medal.
In 1959, the competition regulations were developed. In the early 90s, athletes with a transplanted heart took part in the games, they even ran a marathon.
In addition to the Paralympic Games, the games of “Spelis Olympus X” became very popular. They were attended by people with undeveloped mental abilities. All contributions to these competitions are made only by charitable foundations and private donations. Fees, in their usual sense for us, are not here. Age is not limited, since everyone has equal chances to win.
In 1972, about 1,000 athletes participated in these games. The most representative delegations were from Germany, France and England.
It was then that the competitions were replenished with new disciplines (a goal from a ball, a hundred meters for the blind), world records in swimming were set. The largest number of prizes was won by German and American athletes. In third place were the South African athletes.
In addition to competitions, the organizers developed a broad cultural program. Also, for the concert program and other entertainment, a hut was installed at the local rehabilitation center.
The most spectacular 10th Paralympic Games were held in Atlanta (USA). Over 3000 athletes performed at them. 400 thousand spectators witnessed a bright sports festival. Competitions were held in 20 sports, 3 of them were demonstration. For the first time, athletes with mental development problems competed in swimming and athletics.
During the competition in the Canadian city of Toronto, the performances of athletes were broadcast by the media (television). There was a bitter sediment, part of the athletes, as a sign of disagreement with the policy of apartheid, having learned that athletes from South Africa would participate, refused to come to the competitions.
Every year, the scope and number of participants rapidly expanded. By 2000, the number of participants exceeded 3880 people. There were representatives from 130 countries of the world. The largest number of participants was from Australia, Germany, USA, England, Sweden, Japan.
In addition to the summer ones, the Paralympic Winter Games have also been held since 1976. In 1992, biathlon, alpine skiing and luge competitions were held. Russian athletes then performed under the combined flag.
At the 6th games, the audience for the first time could see a sit-down hockey competition.
Paralympic games today
In Russia, in the framework of the Sochi Olympics, it is planned to hold the Winter Paralympic Games (March 8-16). Competitions will be held on the basis of the Rosa Khutor Alpine skiing complex. They will take athletes with spinal injuries, with partial loss of limbs and vision.