7 surprisingly obvious things you never knew about the Paralympics

If you thought Rio 2016 was over, think again – it’s only half-time.

The second slice of action gets under way tomorrow with the opening ceremony of the 2016 Paralympics. So while we wait for the action to begin, here are some surprisingly obvious things you probably didn’t know…

1. This is the Paralympic logo.

You probably know all about the five Olympic rings, but the Paralympic symbol is not quite so familiar. The three shapes are agitos – from the Latin for “I move” – and they encircle a central point, symbolising motion. They are red, blue and green because they’re the three colours most widely used in national flags around the world.

2. The ‘para’ bit means parallel.

The idea is that the Paralympics forms a parallel games to the Olympics. Fittingly, it comes from the Greek “para” meaning beside.

3. The Paralympics hasn’t been going all that long.

The first Paralympic Games took place in Rome in 1960, and only 23 nations took part. The first Winter Paralympics followed in 1976. The origins, though, go back a little further than that. Speaking of which…

4. We might never have had the Paralympics without the Second World War.

While the first Paralympics was in 1960, the event grew out of the Stoke Mandeville Games. That event was first organised by a German doctor, Ludwig Guttmann, living in the UK, who used sport to help rehabilitate soldiers with spinal injuries after the Second World War. The first Stoke Mandeville Games was in 1948 – and the first international version, which also included Dutch athletes, was four years later. The Paralympics eventually grew out of Dr Guttmann’s games.

5. And that explains one of the London 2012 mascots.

Remember those lovable and frankly slight weird mascots from London 2012, Wenlock and Mandeville? Now you know where Mandeville’s name came from.

6. It’s the second largest multi-sport event in the world.

After the Olympics, obviously.

7. The most successful Paralympian makes Michael Phelps look like an underachiever.

US swimmer Phelps probably thinks he’s pretty damn clever with his 23 Olympic gold medals, three silver and two bronze. And we are prepared to concede that’s a pretty decent haul. But it looks a little piddly and pathetic next to the 55 medals (44 gold) amassed by compatriot Trischa Zorn at the Paralympics. Zorn, also a swimmer, bagged her gongs in a career that spanned seven games between 1980 and 2004. So Phelps still has time to catch up.

More on this topic

PICS: Crowds turn out to welcome Paralympic heroes home to DublinPICS: Crowds turn out to welcome Paralympic heroes home to Dublin

Mo Farah, Rafa Nadal and Justin Rose among next batch of hacked athletesMo Farah, Rafa Nadal and Justin Rose among next batch of hacked athletes

Paralympic cyclist dies after crashParalympic cyclist dies after crash

Team Ireland win their 10th medal in the ParalympicsTeam Ireland win their 10th medal in the Paralympics

More in this Section

Sheffield United striker charged with drink-drivingSheffield United striker charged with drink-driving

Two arrested over ‘racist abuse’ at FA Cup matchTwo arrested over ‘racist abuse’ at FA Cup match

World Rugby investigating photo of referee Peyper ‘mocking Vahaamahina elbow’World Rugby investigating photo of referee Peyper ‘mocking Vahaamahina elbow’

Onus now rests on Croke Park to make Tier 2 a successOnus now rests on Croke Park to make Tier 2 a success


Lifestyle

As he prepares to stand down at Wexford Festival Opera, director David Agler tells Cathy Desmond about the highlights of his 15 years at the helmAll set for his swansong: Director David Agler highlights 15 years at Wexford Festival Opera

Volunteers from the multinational tech company harvest food fresh from Fota Gardens, writes Peter Dowdall.Made in Munster: The tech giant Apple harvesting food from Fota Gardens

Peter Dowdall takes a look at a plant that thrives in damp soil and is a key part of Ireland’s biodiversityThe wonders of willows: A key part of Ireland’s biodiversity

Pollutants can have an impact on your health, but there are things you can do to reduce the potential damage.High pollution days ‘lead to more cardiac arrests and strokes’: 5 easy ways to protect yourself

More From The Irish Examiner