As the 2018 Winter Paralympic games draw closer, lets take a look back at the history of the games. We take a look at how the games opened everyone’s eyes to the what people with disabilities can do!
The Paralympics games started in 1948, with a small gathering of British World War 11 veterans. This was not the first time athletes with disabilities took part in a Olympic event. Before this athletes with disabilities had competed in the Olympics. In 1904 George Eyser a gymnast competed with an artificial leg. The first Paralympic games were only for athletes with spinal injuries and it was called the wheelchair games. In 1952 the games grew and became international with Dutch and Israeli participants. By 1960 the games were opened to all athletes with disabilities, not just those with spinal injuries. The games grew bigger each time, growing from 23 countries in the early years to 100 participating countries today.
In 1988 the games celebrated another milestone. The Paralympic and Olympic games became more united by holding the Paralympics directly after the Olympic games and using the same facilities. The name Paralympics symbolises this union as it is a combination of the word para (meaning beside) and Olympic, signifying that the games run parallel to the each other.
The Paralympics have 10 eligible impairment types. The categories are; impaired muscle power, impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency, leg length difference, short stature, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, vision impairment and intellectual impairment.
The focus of the games is ‘ability not disability’, the games aim to highlight the incredible things that those with disabilities can do. Running them alongside the Olympic games highlights the athletic abilities of Paralympians. It shows that the games are as exciting, interesting and physically intense as the Olympic games.
Channel 4 made the ‘Ability not Disability’ mantra a core focus of their coverage of the event since it took over coverage in 2012. Branding competitors as super humans, the channel introduced the country to the competitors early on and set out to make them stars! They were inclusive of those with disabilities in many of their other programmes, they piloted the comedy talk panel ‘The Last Leg’ to try and rid the stigma that has often surrounded those with disabilities.
These values are something we follow here at Stanford Coachworks. We work with charities, organisations and individuals with disabilities and design every vehicle suitable for the person. There’s no reason why a person with a disability cannot have a vehicle of the same calibre as others. From our essential range to our luxury Monaco range we will focus the design to work for a customer and their abilities.