Paralympic history

The Paralympic movement was born at Stoke Mandeville hospital, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Dr. Ludwig Guttmann.

WheelPower Archive pic of Wheelchair Basketball - Picture courtesy of WheelpowerFollowing the end of World War II, Dr. Guttmann was asked by the British government to set up a spinal injuries centre at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in order to care for and assist those who had been injured during the war.

In 1948 Dr Guttmann organised the first competition for wheelchair athletes which he named the Stoke Mandeville Games. He held this competition on the same day as the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London, and 16 injured servicemen and women took part in an archery competition.

Eventually the games expanded to include more sports and evolved to accommodate athletes from countries all over the world. In 1960 the International Stoke Mandeville Games officially became the Paralympic Games in time for the 1960 summer games in Rome.

Stoke Mandeville, being the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, now hosts the flame lighting ceremony for each games, and has done since 2014.

Previous Paralympians involved in the ceremony include: Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Hannah Cockroft, Kelly Gallagher, Margaret Maughan, Ali Jawad and Sophie Christiansen.