The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Opening Ceremony for the Rome 1960 Paralympic Games on September 18.
Originally billed as the 9th Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games-the term “Paralympic Games” was approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1984-the Rome 1960 Paralympics took place from September 18-25, six days after the Closing Ceremony of the XVII Olympic Summer Games. This event marked the first time that the Paralympic Games were put together and assembled to be equivalent to the Olympics in the same city.
The 1960 event was the largest international Games to date with 400 athletes from 23 countries. According to an IPC news release, the competitive program included eight sport events considered “beneficial and suitable” for athletes with spinal cord injuries, as only athletes in wheelchairs were allowed to compete: snooker, fencing, javelin and precision javelin, shot put, Indian club throwing (throwing a baton), men’s basketball, and swimming.
“It was in Rome in 1960 that the Paralympic Games really kicked off, and it is great thanks to the people of Rome and the people of Italy that these inaugural Games successfully took place,” said IPC President Sir Philip Craven. “Look what progress has been made since then!”
Click here to watch a YouTube video clip from the Rome 1960 Paralympic Games.