The Paralympic Games is the largest international event for disabled athletes and it is held in the same style as the Olympic Games.

The Paralympic Games are held on a four yearly cycle for both the summer and winter games. The Paralympic Games are held immediately following their respective Olympic Games, in the same host city and venues as the Olympic Games.

Currently there are 28 sports (22 summer and 6 winter) that are contested at the Paralympic Games.

New Zealand has won a total of 236 Paralympic medals (201 Summer and 35 Winter).

The Paralympic Games began in 1948 by Sir Ludwig Guttmann who wanted to start a sport that involved the veterans from World War II. On 29 July 1948, the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, the first organised competition for wheelchair athletes was founded. The event was called the Stoke Mandeville Games and included 16 injured service men and women who took part in the sport of Archery. The Games were later renamed the International Stoke Mandeville Games in 1952 when Dutch ex-servicemen joined in the event. The first official Paralympic Games were in Rome in 1960 and featured eight sports. The term “Paralympic Games“ derives its name from the fact that the Games are held in ‘parallel’ directly after the Olympic Games.

The first Paralympic Games was held in 1960 in Rome, New Zealand first competed in 1968.

The Paralympic Games have developed from 400 athletes from 23 countries in Rome 1960 to over 4350 athletes from 160 countries in Rio 2016.

New Zealand Medal History - Summer Paralympic Games

2020Tokyo, Japan63312
2016Rio de Janeiro, Brazil95721
2012London, England67417
2008Beijing, China53412
2004Athens, Greece61310
2000Sydney, Australia68418
1996Atlanta, USA96318*
1992Barcelona, Spain5106
1988Seoul, South Korea241117
1984New York, USA & Stoke Mandeville, England810725
1980Arnhem, Holland76619
1976Toronto, Canada71513
1972Heidelberg, Germany3339
1968Tel Aviv, Israel1214
1964 Tokyo, JapanNew Zealand did not attend
1960Rome, ItalyNew Zealand did not attend

* Wheelchair rugby was included as a demonstration event at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games, and New Zealand won bronze. Medals were awarded but are not included in the official medal tally.