Olympic and Paralympic Movement

History of creation Olympic and Paralympics games. What games were played original Olympic games and that play today. What is the sports for invalids? Comparison of these kinds of competitions, the analysis of features and development of both games.

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Olympic and Paralympic Movement

Have you watched the Olympics on TV or better yet been there to experience it live? Have you ever wondered why the Olympics started? I did! If you want to be on or go to the Olympics, I think you first need to know about it. Why did the games start? At the original Olympics what games did they play? What do you know about the sport for the disabled? What do the Paralympic Games mean? What games do they play today? Now, get ready for the world of the Olympics and Paralympics. I want to suggest your attention the comparison of two quite different kinds of competitions, to analyze the peculiarity of it and look through the history of the establishment and development of both Games.

Olympic and Paralympic Movement

The Olympic Movement

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was created on 23 June 1894; the 1st Olympic Games of the modern era opened in Athens on 6 April 1896; and the Olympic Movement has not stopped growing ever since.

Olympism is a state of mind based on equality of sports which are international and democratic.

It is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind.

The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination or any kind, in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

And now more about the history of the Olympic Games.


Olympia, the site of the ancient Olympic Games, is in the western part of the Peloponnese which, according to Greek mythology, is the island of "Pelops", the founder of the Olympic Games. Imposing temples, votive buildings, elaborate shrines and ancient sporting facilities were combined in a site of unique natural and mystical beauty. Olympia functioned as a meeting place for worship and other religious and political practices as early as the 10th century B.C. The central part of Olympia was dominated by the majestic temple of Zeus, with the temple of Hera parallel to it. The ancient stadium in Olympia could accommodate more than 40,000 spectators, while in the surrounding area there were auxiliary buildings which developed gradually up until the 4th century B.C. and were used as training sites for the athletes or to house the judges of the Games.


The Olympic Games were closely linked to the religious festivals of the cult of Zeus, but were not an integral part of a rite. Indeed, they had a secular character and aimed to show the physical qualities and evolution of the performances accomplished by young people, as well as encouraging good relations between the cities of Greece. According to specialists, the Olympic Games owed their purity and importance to religion.

Now we know where the games are held, but we don't know what games they played? In the first thirteen Olympic Games, there was only one event and that was the sprint. The sprint event was about one hundred and eight meters in length. Then later Pentathlon was added and it had different events. There was discus, javelin, jumping, running, and wrestling. After a while, they added Equestrian events and that included chariot racing and riding. The Ancient Olympics did have lots of events. They had two major events Equestrian and Pentathlon events.


The Olympic victor received his first awards immediately after the competition. Following the announcement of the winner's name by the herald, a Hellanodikis (Greek judge) would place a palm branch in his hands, while the spectators cheered and threw flowers to him. Red ribbons were tied on his head and hands as a mark of victory.

The official award ceremony would take place on the last day of the Games, at the elevated vestibule of the temple of Zeus. In a loud voice, the herald would announce the name of the Olympic winner, his father's name, and his homeland. Then, the Hellanodikis placed the sacred olive tree wreath, or kotinos, on the winner's head.


The world's greatest international sports games are known as the Olympic Games. The Olympic Games have a very long history. They began in 777 BC in Greece and took place every four years for nearly twelve centuries at Olympia. They included many different kinds of sports: running, boxing, wrestling, long jumping, throwing of disks, chariot races, etc. All the cities in Greece sent their best athletes to Olympia to compete in the Games. All athletes took an oath that they had been preparing for the Games well, and promised to compete honestly and keep the rules of the sacred Olympics. The rules were very strict. Those that didn't obey them were physically punished. The athletes took part in all kinds of competitions. Winners were called “olympionics”; they were awarded olive wreaths and cups of olive oil. This tradition has survived. For the period of the Games all the wars stopped. So the Olympic Games become the symbol of peace and friendship. In 394 AD the Games were abolished and were not renewed until many centuries later. In 1894, a Frenchman, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, addressed all the sports governing bodies and pointed out the significance of sports and its educational value. Two years later the first modern Olympic Games took place. Of course, the competitions were held in Greece to symbolize the continuation of the centuries-old tradition. In 1896 the International Olympic Committee was set up. It is the central policymaking body of the Olympic movement. It is formed by the representatives of all countries which take part in the Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee decides upon the programme of the games, the number of the participants and the city-host for the Games. Over one hundred and fifty countries are represented in the International Olympic Committee now. Besides, each country has its National Olympic Committee. Summer and Winter Games are held separately. There are always several cities wishing to host the Games. The most suitable is selected by the International Committee. After that the city of the Games starts preparations for the competitions, constructs new sports facilities, stadiums, hotels, press centres. Thousands of athletes, journalists and guests come to the Games, and it takes great efforts to arrange everything. There is always an interesting cultural programme of concerts, exhibitions, festivals, etc., for each Games. Russia joined the Olympic movement in 1952. Since then it has won a lot of gold, silver and bronze medals. In 1980 Moscow hosted the Twenty-Second Olympic Games. And the symbol was brown bear. The latest Olympic Games were held in Salt Lake City. This is the largest winter Olympic Games people have ever had. Russian and Ukrainian sportsmen got medals for their records in many sports events.

Next Olympic Games will be held this year in Torino, Italy. In the year 2012, they might have the Olympics Games held in Florida, USA.

The Paralympic Movement

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) was founded in 1989 and is one of the largest sport organizations in the world. Representing the vast majority of athletes with a disability, it has taken sport to a new and higher level, providing unique opportunities from a developmental to an elite sport level.

Through its ideals and activities, the IPC seeks the continuous global promotion of the values of the Paralympic Movement, with a vision of inspiration and empowerment.

Today, thousands of athletes participate in the more than 300 international competitions taking place every year all over the world.


The Paralympics have come a long way from its humble beginnings as a rehabilitation programme for British war veterans with spinal injuries.

Back in 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttman, a neurologist who was working with World War II veterans with spinal injuries at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, began using sport as part of the rehabilitation programmes of his patients.

He set up a competition with other hospitals to coincide with the London Olympics in that year.

Over the next decade Guttman's care plan was adopted by other spinal injury units in Britain and competition grew.

In 1960, the Olympics were held in Rome, and Guttmann brought 400 wheelchair athletes to the Olympic city to compete. The modern Parallel Olympics (or "Paralympics") were born.


1948 - Stoke Mandeville

1960 - Rome

1964 - Tokyo, Japan

1968 - Tel Aviv

1972 - Heidelberg

1976 - Toronto

1980 - Arnhem

1984 - Stoke Mandeville & New York

1988 - Seoul

1992 - Barcelona

1996 - Atlanta

2000 - Sydney

Paralympic medal tables

Britain's first ever gold medal was won by Margaret Maughan that year in archery - the first sport to be included in Guttman's treatment plans.

In 1964, the able-bodied athletes went to Tokyo for the Olympics and shortly afterward the Japanese capital also played host to the disabled athletes.

The games in Japan saw the introduction of wheelchair racing - although only in the normal day-to-day chairs rather than the space age machines used by the Paralympians of today.

While the Olympics went to Mexico in 1968, the Paralympics were staged in Israel and four years later were held in Heidelberg while the Olympics were in Munich.

They saw more than 1,000 athletes from 44 countries participating and people with quadriplegic spinal injuries competed for the first time while visually impaired athletes took part in demonstration events.

The visually impaired took a full part in medal events in Toronto in 1976. Their participation, along with debuts for amputee and mixed disabilities ("les autres"), athletes boosted the number of competitors to 1600.

Specialised racing wheelchairs were used for the first time.

Politics reared its ugly head in 1980 as the Soviet Union could not, or would not, agree to the Paralympics taking place and as a result 2,500 disabled athletes from 42 countries went to Arnhem in Holland to compete.

The Paralympic movement invited athletes with cerebral-palsy to compete for the first time.

Four years later, Britain and the United States joined forces as hosts with events being held at Stoke Mandeville and New York. The Wheelchair Marathon race was added to the competition for the first time.


The 1980's ended on a high note for the Paralympic movement, with the 1988 games in Seoul.

The Koreans decided that the games should be truly "parallel" and so they were staged on the same scale and lines as the Olympics.

It saw an unprecedented level of co-operation between the organising committees of the Olympics and Paralympics.

The 1992 Barcelona Paralympics took the Games one step further with 3,500 athletes from 82 countries competing in front packed stadia.

Following the Barcelona Games, athletes with learning disabilities had their own Paralympics in Madrid.

Unfortunately a lot of the good work of Barcelona was undone four years later in Atlanta.

The Paralympic Organising Committee received little help from their Olympic counterparts and athletes complained about the facilities in the Olympic Village and about the city's transport system.

The athletes competed in almost empty venues.

However, it was not all bad - Atlanta was the first Paralympic games to benefit from having world-wide sponsors, athletes with learning disabilities were integrated into the main programme, equestrian was added to the list of sports, with sailing and wheelchair rugby being included as demonstration events.

Atlanta 1996 also saw a record number of participating nations and record number of world bests set.


And so to Sydney, the first city in the southern hemisphere to host the Paralympics.

A staggering 132 countries took part with rugby and wheelchair basketball given full medal status, but the Games was not without some controversy.

Joy soon turned to shame when Spain's intellectually disabled basketball team were stripped of their medals after an investigation by the Spanish Paralympic Committee proved only two out of their 12 players suffered from a mental disability.

But this failed to taint the overall success of the Games, which enjoyed packed stadiums and unprecedented media coverage across the world - making it the best Paralympics ever.

It is all a far cry from the movement's humble beginnings in in Stoke Mandeville.

Today, the Paralympics are elite sport events for athletes from six different disability groups. They emphasize, however, the participants' athletic achievements rather than their disability. The movement has grown dramatically since its first days. The number of athletes participating in Summer Paralympic Games has increased from 400 athletes from 23 countries in Rome in 1960 to 3806 athletes from 136 countries in Athens in 2004. The Paralympic Games have always been held in the same year as the Olympic Games. Since the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games and the Albertville 1992 Winter Paralympic Games they have also taken place at the same venues as the Olympics. On 19 June 2001, an agreement was signed between IOC and IPC securing this practice for the future. From the 2012 bid process onwards, the host city chosen to host the Olympic Games will be obliged to also host the Paralympics. The Chinese city of Beijing will host the next 2008 Paralympic Games, whereas the Winter Paralympics 2010 will be in Vancouver, Canada. London will host the Paralympics in 2012 and Sochi will be the host of the 2014 Winter Paralympics.

As we know, the Olympics were held every four years. Today, they are held all over the world. But in the beginning they were held in the Olympia, Greece. These days we play tons of games at the Olympics but at the first Olympics they only had one event. That was the sprint. Now you learned that the Olympics were held to honor the ancient Greek gods. Becoming an Olympic Medalist is really hard and takes lots of work. Now, if you go to an Olympic games, you can tell the person you sitting next to the history of the Olympics.

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