1980s Summer Games Infographic

Infographic of the statistics for the 1980s Summer Paralympic Games

Click to zoom into a pdf of the Infographic. Statistics are from the IPC website

1980s Winter Games Infographic

Infographic of the statistics for the 1980s Winter Paralympic Games

Click to zoom into a pdf of the Infographic. Statistics are from the IPC website

This was a pivotal decade for the Paralympics movement.  Not only did the pioneer of the movement pass away in 1980 (Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann) but relations between the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation and the International Olympic Committee became more friendly. 

However, the 1980s began with a growing divergence between Olympics and Paralympics. Through the 1970s the host Olympic nation had hosted the Paralympics as well, even if it took place in another city. In 1972 the  Olympics were at Munich and Heidelberg hosted the Paralympics. In 1976 Montreal hosted the Olympics and Toronto the Paralympics. However, Moscow, the 1980s Olympic host, refused to also stage a Paralympics and instead these took place in Arnhem in the Netherlands.

Arnhem 1980 Summer Paralympics

Moscow who hosted the Summer Olympics declined to host the 1980 Paralympic Games,  so they were held in Arnhem, the Netherlands. 1,653 athletes from 42 countries, competing in 590 events in 13 sports.  The GB team of 65 men and 31 women won a total of 47 gold, 32 silver and 21 bronze medals. Read more about the Arnhem 1980 Summer Paralympic Games here

Geilo 1980 Winter Paralympics

299 athletes from 18 countries, competing in 63 events in 3 sports.  The GB team of 6 men competed in Alpine and Cross Country skiing. Read more about the Geilo 1980 Winter Paralympics here

Innsbruck 1984 Winter Paralympics

The first of two consecutive Winter games held at Innsbruck. 419 athletes from 21 countries, competing in 3 sports.  The GB team of 19 men and 3 women won a total of 4 Silver and 6 Bronze medals.

Stoke Mandeville and New York 1984 Summer Paralympics

1984 Summer Games were shared between New York and Stoke Mandeville. 2093 athletes from 54 countries, competed in 903 events in 18 sports.  The GB team of 156 men and 68 women won a total of 107 Gold, 112 Silver and 112 Bronze medals.

Archive film footage of the 1984 Stoke Mandeville Games

This footage shows Dorothy Ripley winning gold and the world record in the women's shot put.

The last minute Paralympics

1984 was a difficult year. The USA as the Olympic host nation was intending to stage the Paralympics wheelchair games at Champaign, Illinois. Then with just four months notice the organiser,  the University of Illinois, pulled out due to financial difficulties. To save the day Stoke Mandeville offered to host the games instead.

Read more about this and the full interviews with Keith Delderfield, Douglas Joss and Robert King

South Africa and the Anti-Apartheid Movement

South Africa had been expelled from the Olympics back in 1964 because of its apartheid regime. However it had continued to participate intermittently in Paralympic events. The Dutch parliament banned the team from taking part in the 1980 Arnhem games but the South African team came to Stoke Mandeville in 1984.

Innsbruck 1988 Winter Paralympics

377 athletes from 22 countries, competing in 4 sports.  The GB team of 18 men and 3 women won no medals

Seoul 1988 Summer Paralympics

The 1988 Paralympic Summer Games in Seoul saw the event being hosted in the same city as the Olympics for the first time since Tokyo in 1964. By this time the scale of the Paralympic Games had grown from some 266 competitors, representing 20 countries, in 143 events across 9 sports in 1964, to 3041 competitors, representing 60 countries, in 733 events across 18 sports. The GB team of 169 men and 55 women won a total of 65 Gold, 65 Silver and 54 Bronze medals. Read more about the Seoul 1988 Summer Paralympics here

Memories from the 1980s

Val Williamson's journey to medals at the 1980 Arnhem Games.

James Brown winning gold at New York.

Terry Willett, selected to light the 1984 Paralympic flame.

Paul Cartwright, wheelchair racing.

Robin Surgeoner, Seoul opening ceremony memories.

Ernie Guild participation in 3 Paralympic Games.

Tara Flood, competing in the New York and Seoul Games.

Mike Kenny winning gold at 4 games.

Simon Jackson winning gold at Seoul.