Background to the Games

The Geilo 1980 Winter Games, known as the 2nd Olympic Winter Games for the Disabled, were hosted in Norway following the success of the first Winter Paralympic Games in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, four years earlier. There was a 40% increase in participation and events were added for those with spinal injuries. There were 18 countries that took part with Norway winning the most medals.

The build-up to the Games

Logo

The logo consists of the Geilo city emblem, the antlers of two reindeer facing each other holding a snowflake between them, and the three wheel logo of the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation (ISMGF) combined with a flaming torch.

The logo consists of the Geilo city emblem, the antlers of two reindeer facing each other holding a snowflake between them, and the three wheel logo of the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation (ISMGF) combined with a flaming torch.

Poster

The poster includes the logo which consists of the Geilo city emblem, the antlers of two reindeer facing each other holding a snowflake between them, and the three wheel logo of the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation (ISMGF) combined with a flaming torch.

Image courtesy of Ian Brittain

Changes to Events

Ice sledge speed skating, which had been a demonstration event at the 1976 Örnsköldsvik Winter Paralympic Games, was added as a medal event, with distances of 100m, 500m and 800m for women and 100m, 500m and 1,500m for men. 

Sledge downhill racing was included as a demonstration event.

Ice sledge racing at the Geilo 1980 Winter Games

The opening ceremony

The opening ceremony was held in the Idrettshallen stadium, the local sports hall in Geilo, Norway. The event was said to be colourful and opened by HRH Prince Harald of Norway who lit the Paralympic flame.

Opening ceremony of the Geilo 1980 Winter Paralympic Games

Image courtesy of the Australian Paralympic Committee

During the Games

The Medals

Image of the medals can be found on the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) website from https://www.paralympic.org/geilo-1980/medals

The medal for the 1980 2nd Olympic winter games featured a torch over the three interlocking wheels of the International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation (ISMWSF). This trend can be traced back to the Tel Aviv 1968 Summer Games which also embraced the emblem of the ISMWSF.

Medal statistics

The Great Britain team of eight men did not win any medals at the 1980 Geilo Winter games.

Prominent British Paralympic athletes

Alpine skiing

  • Mike Bayford
    Competed in the Men’s Giant Slalom 3A and Men’s Slalom 3A.
  • Michael Hammond
    Britain’s only alpine skier at the Örnsköldsvik 1976 Winter Games, in Geilo he competed in Men’s Giant Slalom 1A and Men’s Slalom 1A.
  • Robert Newington
    Competed in Men's Giant Slalom 1A and Men’s Slalom 1A.
  • Howard O'Mahony
    Competed in Men’s Slalom 1A.
  • John Watkins
    After competing in the Men’s Giant Slalom 3B and Men’s Slalom 3B at Geilo, John went on to win the first ParalympicGB para alpine skiing medal at the 1984 Innsbruck Winter Paralympic Games, a bronze in the Men's Alpine Combination LW5/7.

Cross country skiing

  • Kendall Bodden
    As remembered in 'Tribute from Mike Brace of Metro Sports Club'
    Kenny was born in Panama, went to school in Jamaica and then college in England.  I was always confused when I was with Kenny how, a Spanish speaking Panamanian with a Mancunian accent was living in Hackney and competing for Britain!
    ... a man of many parts: a keen cricketer for Metro in the 80’s and 90’s, a regular skier with the Metro members at the annual Norway ski week, a very competent skater and athlete, a Member of the British Paralympic Ski Team, a fantastic musician and entertainer, a champion of human rights and the oppressed and a great friend to anyone in need.
    He competed in the Men's Middle Distance 10 km 5B and Men's Long Distance 20 km 5B.
  • Michael (Mike) Brace
    Having competed in Men's Middle Distance 15 km A and Men's Short Distance 10 km A cross-country events at the Örnsköldsvik 1976 Winter Games, in Geilo he competed in Men's Middle Distance 10 km 5B and Men's Long Distance 20 km 5B, going on to represent Britain at several World and European Championships and each Winter Paralympics until Lillehammer in 1994. From 1988 until 1994 he also managed the cross-country ski team.
    Subsequently appointed as Chef de Mission for the Great Britain Team for the 1998 Winter Paralympics in Nagano, then Director of ParalympicsGB for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, in 2001 he was elected as Chairman of the British Paralympic Association (BPA), performing the role of Head of Delegation at all Paralympic Games from 2002 to 2008. In the 2005 New Year’s Honours List he was awarded an OBE for Services to Disabled Sport and, in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, a CBE for his contribution to Disabled Sport.
  • Peter Young
    A piano tuner, Peter only started skiing in 1974 at the age of 18 when he went to Norway for a party. Having competed in three events at the Örnsköldsvik 1976 Winter Games, in Geilo he competed in Men’s Middle Distance 10 km 5B and Men’s Long Distance 20 km 5B.

The closing ceremony

There is very little known of the closing ceremony, but it is said to have been low key and held in the Idrettshallen stadium, the same place as the opening ceremony.

References

  • www.paralympic.org/geilo-1980
  • www.researchgate.net/publication/277606715_The_evolution_of_the_winter_Paralympic_games_and_sports
  • themanylivesofken.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/tribute-from-mike-brace-of-metro-sports-club/
  • www.skiclub.co.uk/pyeongchang2018/features/history-of-the-paralympic-winter-games
  • paralympics.org.uk/sports/para-alpine-skiing
  • www.paralympic.org/geilo-1980
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia_at_the_1980_Winter_Paralympics#Logo
  • www.paralympic.org/sdms4/hira/web?type=event&criteria=0&games=1980PWG&sport=26