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A Brief History of the Winter Paralympic Games

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The Winter Paralympic Games have been inspiring us alongside the summer games for over forty years, but when did they actually start and why? Whether you’ve always loved snow and ice sports or you’re just beginning to discover the impressive athletes taking on the snowy slopes and freezing temperatures for a chance to win the gold, here are some fascinating facts you’ll want to share with everybody. We’ve pulled together a brief history of the Winter Paralympic Games.


When did the first Winter Paralympic Games take place?

The very first Winter Paralympic Games took place in Sweden in 1976, where nearly 200 athletes from 16 different countries completed for gold. The Winter games have continued to excite and inspire us every four years since.

In fact, since the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville in France, the games have also taken place in the same cities and venues as the Olympics.


ParalympicsGB at the Winter Paralympics

Winter sports for athletes with physical impairment gradually emerged after World War II as a means of rehabilitation to help soldiers injured during conflict, but also those who wanted to get back into skiing.

It was alpine and cross-country skiing competitions that first sparked the flame that eventually led to the first Paralympic Winter Games. Check out the Inside ParalympicsGB video series and discover Para Alpine skiers hoping to represent ParalympicsGB at Beijing 2022.


Which country hosted the most Winter Paralympics Games in history?

Austria and Norway hosted the games twice: Austria in 1984 and 1988 and Norway in 1980 and 1994. But the amazing history of the Winter Paralympic Games saw athletes compete in the legendary races all over the world: France (1992), Japan (1998), USA (2002), Italy (2006), Canada (2010), Russia (2014) and South Korea (2018).


ParalympicsGB at the Winter Paralympics

Great Britain have competed at every Winter Paralympic Games since they began. ParalympicsGB sent 17 athletes to the games in Pyeongchang in 2018 – the most sent since 2006. It turned out to be the most successful in history, when the team returned with an incredible seven medals! What an incredible achievement.


When are the next Winter Paralympics?

Following on from the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018, the next Paralympics are taking place in Beijing in March 2022. Join us in flying the flag for all the ParalympicsGB athletes who will be competing for gold.

If you want to show your support for the British Paralympic Association and all the amazing things they’re up to, it’s really easy. Visit the ParalympicsGB website to find out more.

If you’re looking for more Paralympics facts, take a look at our Top 9 Amazing Paralympic Facts you probably didn’t know article.