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Parallel Sports

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Paralympics: UK Medals
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Parallel Sports

This is a relatively new page, and when I created it I chose the title very carefully. I could have called it The Paralympics, but there are just a few questions that refer to other events.

First of all:

In the term 'Paralympics', 'Para' is short for Click to show or hide the answer

Wikipedia tells us that 'Although the name [Paralympics] was originally coined as a portmanteau combining "paraplegic" (due to its origins as games for people with spinal injuries) and "Olympic," the inclusion of other disability groups meant that this was no longer considered very accurate. The present formal explanation for the name is that it derives from the Greek preposition παρα, pará ("beside" or "alongside") and thus refers to a competition held in parallel with the Olympic Games. The Summer Games of 1988 held in Seoul was the first time the term "Paralympic" came into official use.'

The previous equivalent event, held in 1984 at Stoke Mandeville and New York, was officially entitled The International Games for the Disabled. Wikipedia refers to these as "canonically the 1984 Summer Paralympics", and this ("1984 Summer Paralympics") is the title it uses for the relevant page. In other words, all previous equivalent events are now known as the Paralympics.

I came up with 'Parallel Sports' as the title for my page because I felt that the non–Paralympic events referred to on this page were parallel to other sports in the same way that the Paralympics are parallel to the Olympics.

Paralympics: UK medals

Great Britain has a very proud record in the Paralympics. We've never topped the medals table, but we've finished second on eight occasions, third four times, fourth once, and fifth twice.

Year 1st2nd 3rd4th 5thG SB Tot
2020ChinaGreat Britain USA(Russia) Netherlands4138 45124
2016ChinaGreat Britain UkraineUSA Australia6439 44147
2012China RussiaGreat BritainUkraine Australia3443 43120
2008China Great BritainUSA UkraineAustralia42 2931 102
2004China Great BritainCanada USAAustralia35 3029 94
2000Australia Great BritainCanada SpainUSA41 4347 131
1996USA AustraliaGermany Great BritainSpain 394241 122
1992USA GermanyGreat Britain FranceSpain40 4741 128
1988USA West GermanyGreat Britain CanadaFrance64 6653 183
1984USA Great BritainCanada SwedenWest Germany107 112112 331
1980 USA Poland West Germany Canada Great Britain 47 32 21100
1976USA NetherlandsIsrael West GermanyGreat Britain 292936 94
1972West Germany USAGreat Britain South AfricaNetherlands 161521 52
1968USA Great BritainIsrael AustraliaFrance29 2020 69
1964USA Great BritainItaly AustraliaRhodesia18 2320 61
1960Italy Great BritainWest Germany AustriaUSA20 1520 55

The USA finished sixth in 2012, leaving Great Britain as the only country that has finished in the top five in every Paralympics.

Paralympics: Britain's Best

Britain's three most successful Paralympians are:

Sport Years Gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal Total
Swimming 1992–2004 5 8 3 16 Click to show or hide the answer
Cycling 2008–20 12 12
Total 1992–2020 17 8 3 28
Swimming 1976–88 16 2 18 Click to show or hide the answer
Wheelchair athletics 1988–2004 11 4 1 16 Click to show or hide the answer

Sarah Storey

Year Sport Gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal Total
Barcelona 1992 Swimming 100m backstroke
200m individual medley
400m freestyle
4 x 100m freestyle
4 x 100m medley
100m freestyle 6
Atlanta 1996 Swimming 100m breaststroke
100m backstroke
200m individual medley
400m freestyle 100m freestyle 5
Sydney 2000 Swimming   100m backstroke
4 x 100m medley
  2
Athens 2004 Swimming   100m breaststroke
200m individual medley
100m freestyle 3
Beijing 2008 Cycling Time trial
Individual pursuit
    2
London 2012 Cycling Individual pursuit
500m time trial
Time trial
Road race
    4
Rio de Janeiro 2016 Cycling Individual pursuit
Time trial
Road race
    3
Tokyo 2020 Cycling Individual pursuit
Time trial
Road race
    3
Totals 17 8 3 28

Dame Sarah has also been a World champion 29 times (6 times in swimming and 23 times in cycling), a European champion 21 times (18 times in swimming and 3 times in cycling) and has held 75 world records.

Mike Kenny

Year Gold medal Silver medal Total
Toronto 1976 25 metres backstroke
25 metres breaststroke
25 metres freestyle
  3
Arnhem 1980 25 metres backstroke
25 metres breaststroke
25 metres freestyle
  3
Stoke Mandeville / New York 1984 100 metres freestyle
25 metres backstroke
25 metres breaststroke
25 metres freestyle
3 x 25 metres individual medley
3 x 25 metres freestyle relay 6
Seoul 1988 100 metres freestyle
25 metres backstroke
25 metres breaststroke
25 metres freestyle
75 metres individual medley
3 x 25 metres freestyle relay 6
Totals 16 2 18

Tanni Grey–Thompson

Year Gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal Total
Seoul 1988     400 metres 1
Barcelona 1992 100 metres
200 metres
400 metres
800 meters
4 x 100 metres relay   5
Atlanta 1996 800 metres 100 metres
200 metres
400 metres
  4
Sydney 2000 100 metres
200 metres
400 metres
800 metres
    4
Athens 2004 100 metres
400 metres
    2
Totals 11 4 1 16

Invictus Games

First held in 2014, the Invictus Games were originally intended to be an annual event. They were not held in 2015, however, to allow time for the 2016 host city to plan and raise funds. The third Games were held in 2017, but since then the plan seems to have changed and they are now held biennially (pandemics permitting).

Host cities:

2014 Click to show or hide the answer 2016 Click to show or hide the answer 2017 Click to show or hide the answer 2018 Click to show or hide the answer

The 2014 games were held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The 2016 games were held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World.

The 2020 games were scheduled to be held in The Hague, but were twice postponed due to the COVID–19 pandemic. At the time of writing (September 2021) they were scheduled to be held in 2022 (29 May to 5 June). The games that were to originally due to take place in 2022 – in Dusseldorf – are currently scheduled to take place in 2023.

Other

The first English athlete to compete at the Paralympics and Commonwealth Games (Archery, 2010 – won a gold medal in the team event). Suffers from chronic pain in the feet Click to show or hide the answer
Won gold medals for Great Britain in both Athletics and Cycling, at the 2016 Paralympics; also won a silver and a bronze in Athletics Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
Visually impaired British skier: with her guide Jennifer Kehoe, won four medals (gold in the slalom, two silver and one bronze) at the 2018 Winter Paralympics Click to show or hide the answer
Winner of Britain's first ever Winter Paralympic gold medal (Sochi, 2014: Women's super giant slalom, or Super–G, visually impaired); also the first Winter Paralympics competitor from Northern Ireland Click to show or hide the answer
International Paralympic–style multi–sport event for wounded armed services personnel – including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and indoor rowing; inspired by the Warrior Games, a similar event held in the United States, and named after a Latin epithet signifying the invincibility of the gods; first held in 2014 at the London Olympic Park; Prince Harry was President of the organising committee Click to show or hide the answer
Great Britain's youngest competitor at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008, aged 13: won two swimming gold medals (100m and 400m freestyle); also won two golds at London 2012 (400m freestyle and 200m individual medley). Suffers from achondroplasia (a common form of dwarfism) Click to show or hide the answer
Intellectual disability basketball team stripped of the gold medal in the Sydney Paralympics, after it was discovered that ten of the twelve team members were not disabled Click to show or hide the answer
Hospital that includes the National Spinal Injuries Centre; pioneering rehabilitation work carried out there by Sir Ludwig Guttmann led to the development of the Paralympic Games.  The National Centre for Disability Sport – an extensive sports complex – is adjacent Click to show or hide the answer
Paralympic sport: invented 1976 in Canada; known in the USA as quad rugby; originally known as murderball; subject of a 2005 Oscar–nominated film of that title Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017–18