The summer of sport will draw to a close with a bang as the 2020 Paralympic Games kick off to bring us one last hurrah in 2021.
Euro 2020 and the 2020 Olympic Games have brought delight to fans around the world this summer, providing much-needed respite to all from the COVID pandemic’s disruption.
Now it’s the Paralympics’ turn to wow the crowds at home across the globe with plenty of high-octane events and unscripted drama ready to thrill us.
The dates are all in the diary and almost three weeks of fierce competition are ahead of us, but who will be the breakout stars of the late-summer 2021 Games?
When do the Paralympics start in 2021?
The Paralympics begin on Tuesday 24th August 2021.
After readjusting your body clock to suit the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, you’ve be relieved to know that the Paralympic Opening Ceremony begins the Games at midday (UK time) on Tuesday.
Unlike the Olympics, no events will take place until after the Opening Ceremony is completed.
Paralympics 2021 dates
The Paralympic Games dates run between Tuesday 24th August and Sunday 5th August, with the Closing Ceremony.
There’s plenty to pack into that short window with 539 medals to win across 22 sports and numerous disciplines and categories within each.
The main events include athletics (167 medals), swimming (146 medals) and, a long way back in third, cycling (51 medals).
What country are the Paralympics held in 2021?
The 2020 Paralympic Games will be held in Tokyo, just like the Olympic Games, using mostly the same arenas and spaces to host the Games.
Unfortunately COVID-19 restrictions have not been lifted in time for the Paralympics, meaning athletes will be performing at their peaks in front of mostly empty arenas.
How did the Paralympic movement start?
The Stoke Mandeville Games in 1960 are the first officially recorded Paralympic Games.
In 1944, as Britain was fully immersed in World War II, the government set up a spinal injuries centre at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire.
Sport was used as a means for rehabilitation before taking on more recreational and competitive forms.
The first Stoke Mandeville Games were held on the day of the London 1948 Opening Ceremony, involving a number of military servicemen, and from then on, each Games saw more international participants.
That’s when the 1960 Stoke Mandeville Games were recognised as the Paralympic Games with over 400 participants from around the world.
The movement has snowballed into what we see today, contests for hundreds of medals between thousands of athletes from hundreds of nations.
In 2021, we’re expecting 4,537 Paralympic athletes to compete from 163 countries.