BBC Home
Explore the BBC



Last Updated: Thursday September 04 2008 14:34 GMT


Great Britain's greatest ever Paralympian medal-winner, Tanni Grey-Thompson, in action

The idea for the Paralympics was born in 1948, when a sports competition for people who had injured their spines while fighting in the Second World War took place.

Over the years it got bigger and bigger, until 1960 when an huge Olympic-style event took place in Rome.

By 1976, when the Paralympics were held in Canada, athletes with other disabilities were included as well.

The Paralympics have always been held in the same year as the summer Olympics, but have only been held in the same country since 1988 in Seoul, Korea.

In 1976 the first ever Paralympic Winter Games took place in Sweden.

The name comes from the Parallel Olympics, which was shortened to Paralympics.