Summer Paralympics games are international multi-sport events involving the physically disabled people. The Paralympics is similar to the Olympics except for the participants who take part in the games. The categories of athletes who participate in Paralympics are those with the mobility difficulties like amputees, the blind, and those with cerebral palsy. Paralympics games are held after every four years just like the summer Olympics and is organized by the Paralympics Organizing Committee. Currently, Paralympics are held immediately after Olympics in countries that host Olympics. Medals are awarded to the first three athletes with the winner getting gold, silver for the first runner’s up, and bronze for the second runner’s up. The first official Paralympics game was held in Rome in 1960 with 400 athletes from 23 countries taking part. Only athletes on wheelchair were able to participate in the events with Italy winning the overall title.
The US is one of the countries that have dominated most of the past Paralympics Games in the overall medal standings. The country has been able to emerge first in eight out of the 14 Paralympics held to date. In 1964 Paralympics held in Tokyo, The US won with a total of 123 medals 50 of which were gold. In 1968 games held in Tel Aviv, the country won 99 medals with 33 gold medals. The 1972 games held in Heidelberg were won by Germany with a total of 67 medals. The US recaptured its position in the events held in 1976 in Toronto by winning 154 medals. The US defended the top position for the next five games winning 195 medals but winning 65 gold medals same as Poland, 397 medals in 1984, 273 medals in 1988, 175 medals in 1992, and 158 medals in 1996. The country ranked 5th winning 109 medals in the 2000 summer Paralympics. The events that were held in Sydney were won by Australia winning 149 medals.
In 2004, the US won 88 medals but was ranked fourth with China winning the event with 141 medals. China also won the 2008 and 2012 events held in Beijing and London respectively collecting a total of 211 medals in Beijing and 231 medals in London. The US, on the other hand, won 99 medals in 2008 and 98 medals in 2012 ranking 3rd and 6th respectively. China has emerged as the country to beat in Paralympics having won the last three editions with wide margins with no particular country posing a threat. The US is no longer considered a powerhouse with other nations such as Russia and Great Britain putting in a better performance. China’s success in Paralympics lies on the large teams of athletes it fields in all the events of the Paralympics.
The Upcoming Summer Paralympics
2016 summer Paralympics games will be held in Rio de Janeiro from September 7, 2016, to September 18, 2016, with a total of 176 countries confirming participation. 4500 athletes are expected to compete in the 528 events across 23 sports under the motto “Anew world.” The defending champion, China, is projected to win most of the events. However, the Germany and the US teams have a chance to win the overall position