Canada’s Paralympic History

Chantal Petitclerc racing in a wheelchair

The origin of the Paralympic Games dates back to 1948 when Sir Ludwig Guttman staged the International Wheelchair Games to coincide with the 1948 London Olympic Games. The event gradually grew, encompassing other sports and other disability groups, and now the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games are the ultimate international competitions for world class athletes with a disability. The Paralympic Games are governed internationally by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The Paralympic Games are now linked to the Olympic celebrations every two years and athletes must meet strict qualifying standards in order to compete. The Paralympic Games have taken place at the same venues as the Olympic Games since the Seoul 1988 Summer Games in South Korea and the Albertville 1992 Winter Games in France. On June 19, 2001 an agreement was signed between the IOC and the IPC securing this practice for all future Games.

Canada has participated in every Summer and Winter Paralympic Games since Tel Aviv, Israel in 1968; missing the first two Paralympic Games in 1960 and 1964 (Rome and Tokyo, respectively). In 1968, twenty-two Canadian wheelchair athletes participated, out of a total of approximately 750 athletes from 29 countries. Canada’s participation was largely made possible through the efforts of Dr. Robert F. Jackson, a Toronto Orthopedic Surgeon, who later became the first President of the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Association and Founding Father of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Eight years later, the 1976 Paralympics Summer Games were held in Toronto and following that event, the Canadian government granted funds to be spent in developing sport opportunities for people with a disability. Since then, Canada has been internationally renowned as a leader of the Paralympic Movement.  At the Games, Canada has always ranked amongst the top countries.

Canada's Summer Paralympic Medals

Year

Host City

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total medal count

Overall Ranking

1968

Tel Aviv, Israel

6

6

7

19

12

1972

Heidelberg, Germany

5

6

8

20

13

1976

Toronto, Canada

25

26

26

77

6

1980

Arnhem, Netherlands

64

35

31

130

4

1984

New York, USA

87

82

69

238

3

1988

Seoul, South Korea

54

42

55

151

4

1992

Barcelona, Spain

28

21

26

75

6

1996

Atlanta, USA

24

21

24

69

7

2000

Sydney, Australia

38

33

25

96

3

2004

Athens, Greece

28

19

25

72

3

2008

Beijing, China

19

10

21

50

7

2012 London, England 7 15 9 31 20

 

Canada's Winter Paralympic Medals

Year

Host City

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total medal count

Overall Ranking

1976

Ornskoldsvik, Sweden

2

0

2

4

9

1980

Geilo, Norway

2

3

1

6

8

1984

Innsbruck, Austria

2

8

4

14

10

1988

Innsbruck, Austria

5

3

5

13

8

1992

Albertville, France

2

4

6

12

9

1994

Lillehammer, Norway

1

2

5

8

14

1998

Nagano, Japan

1

9

5

15

15

2002

Salt Lake City, USA

6

4

5

15

6

2006

Torino, Italy

5

3

5

13

6

2010

Vancouver, Canada

10

5

4

19

3

2014 Sochi, Russia 7 2 7 16 3