Athletes competing at the 1955 Stoke Mandeville Games (1955)National Paralympic Heritage Trust
The International Stoke Mandeville Games
In the 1950s the Stoke Mandeville Games went from being an annual event to an international competition. By 1956 18 nations were involved; in 1957 all 5 continents were represented; and in 1958 the British team held a national competition prior to the Games to select the squad.
The 1960s saw the Paralympics hosted internationally
The 1960 Games were held in Rome and are now known as the first Paralympics. In 1964, Tokyo hosted both the Paralympics and the Olympics. At the Tel Aviv 1968 Games new sports events were added including lawn bowls, women's wheelchair basketball and men's 100m wheelchair race.
The first Winter Paralympic Games
The 1970s brought the first Winter Paralympic Games, held in Örnsköldsvik, with alpine and nordic skiing for amputee and visually impaired athletes. Athletes from these impairment groups were also included at the Summer Games with the addition of new sporting events.
The Paralympic Games were nearly lost in the 1980s
In 1984, Illinois pulled out of hosting with only 6 months to go, but Stoke Mandeville stepped in to save the day! At the Seoul 1988 Games athletes competed to sold out stadiums, it was the first time the Olympics and Paralympics were held at the same venue since 1964.
Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Jacket (2020-07-30) by NPHTNational Paralympic Heritage Trust
1990s Paralympic Games build momentum
The Barcelona 1992 Games were a huge success, with a big jump in competition standards. The 1998 Winter Games were the first held outside Europe, in Nagano, and received great media interest. Watch the vlog to find out the importance of the Atlanta 1996 Games.
Record number of tickets sold at the Summer and Winter Games
At the 2000 Sydney, 2002 Salt Lake City and 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games a record number of tickets were sold. Salt Lake City had to increase the number available and for the first time offered worldwide TV coverage of all Paralympic winter sporting events.
Paralympian, Margaret Maughan with the Paralympic torch (2012)National Paralympic Heritage Trust
The Paralympic Games return to the UK
The 2012 Paralympics saw the Games return to the UK. As well as being a spectacular sporting event it brought together the nation and highlighted attitudes to disability. Margaret Maughan, the first Paralympic gold medal winner, lit the cauldron at the opening ceremony.
Thank you to Eva Loeffler OBE, Getty Images, the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS), Sir Philip Craven MBE and WheelPower - British Wheelchair Sport for their support and contribution.