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.

2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympics

At the Vancouver winter games 502 athletes from 44 countries competed in 64 events in 5 sports. The GB team consisting of 7 men and 5 women, competed in Alpine skiing and Wheelchair Curling, they didn't win any medals.

2012 London Summer Paralympics

The London 2012 Paralympic games were the largest Paralympics to date. 4,302 athletes from 164 countries, competing in 503 events in 20 sports. The GB team consisted of 181 men and 113 women who won a total of 34 Gold, 43 Silver and 43 Bronze medals.

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. 

Light Up the World - 2012 Animation about the Paralympics

This film was made in 2012 involving over 500 young disabled and non-disabled young people in 24 schools across 12 Countries, and it was all produced virtually!

2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics

The Sochi games were the largest Winter Paralympic games to date. 538 athletes from 45 countries, competing in 72 events in 5 sports. The GB team consisted of 6 men and 9 women, competed in Alpine Skiing and Wheelchair curling, they had a successful games, winning a total of 1 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Bronze medals.

Memories from the 2010s

Interviews with Naomi Riches MBE who won gold at London 2012 in adaptive rowing