After an amazing London 2012 Olympics that inspired a generation, what better way to cap the Summer off than with an exhilarating London 2012 Paralympic Games?!
The Paralympic Games have come a long way from their humble beginnings as a rehabilitation programme for injured British war veterans. 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 his work with patients. He set up a competition with other hospitals, and on the 28 July 1948, the day of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in London, the Stoke Mandeville Games took place in the hospital grounds. Two teams with 14 former serviceman and two former servicewomen in wheelchairs competed in Archery.
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. Britain's first ever gold medal was won by Margaret Maughan that year in archery. The Paralympic Games were to continue in this manner every four years following the Olympic cycle.
The London 2012 Paralympic Games are from Wednesday 29th August (Opening Ceremony) to Sunday 9thSeptember. 20 sports will feature in the Games. They are: Archery, Athletics, Boccia, Cycling, Equestrian, Football 5-a-side, Football 7-a-side, Goalball, Judo, Powerlifting, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Fencing, Wheelchair Rugby, Wheelchair Tennis. There were 26 Olympic sports in 2012. 4200 athletes will compete in the Paralympics. 10,500 athletes competed in the 2012 Olympics. 174 countries are taking part in the Paralympics vs 205 that took part in the Olympics.
The London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony takes place at 8pm on Wednesday 29th August. Jon Snow and Krishnan Guru-Murthy present live coverage of the festivities, which include a fly-past, circus performers and the arrival of the Paralympic flame.
The BigScreens@LiveSites will be joining the coverage each day of the Games from 09.15am when all the action kicks off with the competition, staying with it throughout the day until approximately 10pm. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date with the extensive Paralympic Games coverage on the BigScreens@LiveSites.