The Rio 2016 Paralympics are due to start on the 7th of September, with around 4,350 athletes from more than 160 countries will travel to Rio to compete in 528 medal events in 22 different sports.
Among them will be Ellie Cole, the Paralympic swimmer who won four gold medals at London 2012. Ellie will be a featured guest speaker at the launch of the New World of Work later this year.
Pendragon will be following Ellie as she competes at Rio this year, so make sure to keep an eye out for future blogs to keep you updated.
The Paralympics first began in 1948, when Sir Ludwig Guttmann, an English Neurosurgeon, organised the first International Wheelchair Games. The games featured WWII veterans who had suffered spinal cord injuries and was timed to coincide with the 1948 London Olympic Games. In 1952 the Stoke Mandeville Games became international when a small team of Dutch veterans travelled across to England to compete.
The first official Paralympics was held to coincide with the Olympics in Rome in 1960, with 400 athletes from 23 countries participating. Australian archer Ross Sutton won Australia’s first Paralympic gold medal during the 1960 games for archery.
Since the 1960 Paralympics Australia won a total of 1046 medals – 346 gold, 364 silver and 336 bronze.
The Paralympics were televised for the first time at the 1988 Seoul Games, and a worldwide audience was able to watch the athletes compete. In the modern world, the Paralympics is the second largest sporting event in the world, trailing only behind the Olympics.
The Rio 2016 Paralympics will see a refuge team compete for the first time under the Paralympics flag. While in the past Paralympians have competed as independent, this is the first time special notice will be given to the refugee and asylum seeker status of the athletes.
Russia will not be competing at the Paralympics this year, after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) chose to implement a ban on all Russian competitors in response to state sponsored doping. This decision came after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose not to implement a blanket ban on all Russian competitors at the 2016 Olympics, and as a result more than 270 Russian athletes were cleared to compete. Russia had been set to bring a team of 267 competitors for the Paralympics before the ban was imposed.
The Paralympic Mascot for Rio 2016 is called Tom and is designed to be a fusion of the plants within the Brazilian Rainforests. This is comparable to the Rio Olympic Mascot Vinicius who was a fusion of a number of Brazilian animals.
The 2016 Paralympics are the first to take place in South America.
Currently there is a campaign being run as a fundraiser for the Agitos Foundation under the #filltheseats, whereby people are donating to the charity and for every $15 raised the IPC is asking the Rio Olympic Committee to invite one Brazilian child to attend the games for free. The first people to donate were Hannah and Tatyana McFadden, US Paralympians who compete in the track arena. The campaign has also received backing from the band Coldplay.