About the Parapan Am Games

What are the Parapan Am Games

The dream of a Parapan American Games came to fruition in November 1999 in Mexico City when the inaugural edition was held with 1,000 athletes from 18 countries competing in four sports.

The Parapan American Games became a regional qualifying event for the Paralympic Games — athletes competing in 1999 knew that a place at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Summer Games was at stake.

In 2003, Mar del Plata, Argentina, was the Host City for the Parapan Am Games. Coming off the success of the 1999 Parapan Am Games in Mexico City, the scope of the second edition widened: 1,500 athletes from 28 countries competed in nine sports.

The popularity of the Parapan Am Games continued to grow. The Rio 2007 Parapan Am Games were hailed as a great success and as a milestone for the history of the Paralympic Movement in the Americas where 1,150 athletes from 25 countries competed in 10 sports. Rio was also the first Parapan Am Games to be held in the same city as its Pan Am counterpart, with just one Organizing Committee for both the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

The Guadalajara 2011 Parapan American Games had 1,300 athletes from 26 countries compete in 13 sports. In 2015, the scope of the Parapan Am Games will continue to grow as TORONTO 2015 stages the largest Parapan Am Games ever.

About the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games

Planning for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games will be fully integrated. This means identifying Parapan-specific details and plans as part of each phase of Games planning to ensure all Parapan preparations are completed prior to the start of the Pan Am Games. Planning also includes a commitment to legacy opportunities, elevating the Paralympic Movement both locally and globally, as well as showcasing accessibility.

Integrated planning also flows to the TO2015 website where information on both the Parapan Am Games and the Pan Am Games can be found. TO2015 planning will ensure a best-ever Parapan Am Games that are athlete focused, reflecting and celebrating the drive, commitment and excellence of the athletes.

Additional Day Added to Games

On February 5, 2014, TO2015 announced it was adding an extra day to the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games schedule to fully celebrate the spectacular athletic achievements of some of the world’s top para-athletes. It’s also been confirmed that 1,600 para-athletes will participate in the Games.

The start date for the largest Parapan Am Games ever held remains Friday, August 7, 2015, however they will now close on Saturday, August 15, 2015.

This decision will maximize exposure for para-sports and enables all athletes to attend the Parapan Am Closing Ceremony! Under previous scheduling, the ceremony conflicted with gold medal events, including the incredibly popular wheelchair basketball competition.

The change requires no additional funding as it has been absorbed within TO2015’s existing operations budget.

TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games Sport Program

TORONTO 2015 will be the fifth edition of the Parapan Am Games and will feature 1,608 athletes from 28 countries competing in 15 sports. All sports will be Paralympic qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Read more about the Parapan Am sport program.

Athlete Classification

Athlete classification is a unique element of Parasport, intended to ensure fair competition. As each sport at any Para-Games requires different skills and competencies, the impact of impairment on the performance of the athletes varies. That’s why each sport has its own unique classification rules.

Read more about athlete classification

History of the Paralympic Movement

Sport for athletes with a disability has existed for more than 100 years. It was not until after World War II, however, that sports for athletes with a disability were widely introduced as a way to assist in the rehabilitation of war veterans and civilians who had been injured during wartime.

In 1944, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann opened a spinal injuries centre at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Great Britain and, in time, rehabilitation sport evolved to recreational sport and then to competitive sport.

On July 29, 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr. Guttmann organized the first competition for wheelchair athletes — named the Stoke Mandeville Games — where 16 injured servicemen and women competed in archery. In 1952, Dutch ex-servicemen joined the movement and the International Stoke Mandeville Games were founded. Four years later, competitors from the Netherlands joined the games and an international movement was born.

The first Paralympic Games took place in 1960 in Rome, Italy and featured 400 athletes from 23 countries competing in 8 sports. Since then, the Paralympic Games have taken place every four years. The first Paralympic Winter Games were held in Sweden in 1976, and like the Summer Games, have taken place every four years.

Since the Summer Games of Seoul, Korea, in 1988 and the Winter Games in Albertville, France, in 1992, the Paralympic Games have occurred in the same cities and venues as the Olympic Games. It is now mandatory that the Host City stage both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The word “Paralympic” derives from the Greek preposition “para” (meaning beside or alongside) and the word “Olympic,” illustrating how the two movements exist side by side.

TORONTO 2015 will be the fifth edition of the Parapan Am Games and will feature 1,500 athletes from 28 countries competing in 15 sports. All sports will be Paralympic qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Paralympic Organizations

Learn more about the Paralympic organizations.