The Games have come a long way since their origins at Stoke Mandeville in 1948. Although the 2008 games at Beijing were famously described by the Chinese as “a games of equal splendour” in the way that there was so much more parity between Olympics and Paralympics, they were arguably surpassed in their turn by the London games of 2012.

The level at which sport is now practised at and its status has improved hugely. The whole thing is now much more focused. The athletes who now take part in the Paralympics are sportsmen who happen to be disabled; previously they were disabled people who happened to do a bit of sport. Keith Delderfield, one of the organisers of the 1984 Stoke Mandeville games.

James Brown talks about the impact of London 2012

James Brown won his first gold as runner at New York in 1984. He took Bronze for Ireland in the cycling time trial in 2012. He reflects on the significance of the London Games.

Directly as a result of what happened in London I am proud to be disabled, whereas I was embarrassed to be disabled before.

Danny Crates on commentating on the 2012 Paralympics

Danny Crates was a successful middle-distance runner before he was invited to become one of the Channel 4 team for the 2012 games. He describes the challenges of commentating on the Paralympics here:

There’s no ‘triumph over adversity’ in the race. The triumph over adversity came five, ten or fifteen years earlier when you had your accident and you got yourself back. All you are trying to do now is beat another seven people of a similar disability class. It’s competition.

Tony Griffin talks about the significance of the Paralympics

Tony Griffin won his first golds as a cerebral palsy athlete at New York in 1984 for javelin and Indian club before going on to compete at another two Paralympic games. He reflects on the meaning of London 2012 for older athletes like himself.

I believe that today’s Paralympians will become future superstars and be recognised as such, pure and simply because that word ‘para’ means parallel to, not ‘disabled’… as such they are athletes first and disabled second, whereas when I was competing it was the other way around.