2004 Summer Paralympics

Last updated
XII Paralympic Games
Athens 2004 logo2.jpg
Host city Athens, Greece
MottoGreat Athletes. Great Performances.
(Greek: Μεγάλοι αθλητές. Μεγάλες Παραστάσεις.)
Events519 in 19 sports
Opening17 September
Closing28 September
Opened by
Georgios Toptsis
Stadium Athens Olympic Stadium
Sydney 2000 Beijing 2008
Salt Lake City 2002 Turin 2006

The 2004 Summer Paralympics (Greek : Θερινοί Παραολυμπιακοί Αγώνες 2004), the 12th Summer Paralympic Games, were a major international multi-sport event for athletes with disabilities governed by the International Paralympic Committee, held in Athens, Greece from 17 September to 28 September 2004. 3,806 athletes from 136 National Paralympic Committees competed. 519 medal events were held in 19 sports.

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Summer Paralympic Games international multi-sport event where athletes with physical disabilities compete

The Summer Paralympic Games or the Games of the Paralympiad, are an international multi-sport event where athletes with physical disabilities compete. This includes athletes with mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and cerebral palsy. The Paralympic Games are held every four years, organized by the International Paralympic Committee. Medals are awarded in each event, with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, a tradition that the Olympic Games started in 1904.

A multi-sport event is an organized sporting event, often held over multiple days, featuring competition in many different sports among organized teams of athletes from (mostly) nation-states. The first major, modern, multi-sport event of international significance is the modern Olympic Games.


Four new events were introduced to the Paralympics in Athens; 5-a-side football for the blind, quads wheelchair tennis, and women's competitions in judo and sitting volleyball. Following a scandal at the 2000 Summer Paralympics, in which the Spanish intellectually-disabled basketball team was stripped of their gold medal after it was found that multiple players had not met the eligibility requirements, ID-class events were suspended. [1] [2]

Paralympic football consists of adaptations of the sport of association football for athletes with a physical disability. These sports are typically played using International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) rules, with modifications to the field of play, equipment, numbers of players, and other rules as required to make the game suitable for the athletes.

2000 Summer Paralympics

The 2000 Paralympic Games were held in Sydney, Australia, from 18 to 29 October. In September 1993, Sydney won the rights to host the 2000 Paralympic Games. To secure this right it was expected that the New South Wales Government would underwrite the budget for the games. The Sydney games were the 11th Summer Paralympic Games, where an estimated 3,800 athletes took part in the programme. They commenced with the opening ceremony on 18 October 2000. It was followed by the 11 days of fierce international competition and was the second largest sporting event ever held in Australia. They were also the first Paralympic Games outside the Northern Hemisphere.

Medal count

A total of 1567 medals were awarded during the Athens games: 519 gold, 516 silver, and 532 bronze. China topped the medal count with more gold medals, more silver medals, and more medals overall than any other nation. In the table below, the ranking sorts by the number of gold medals earned by a nation (in this context a nation is an entity represented by a National Paralympic Committee).

1Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 634632141
2Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 35302994
3Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 28192572
4Flag of the United States.svg  United States 27223988
5Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 263936101
6Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 24121955
7Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 20272471
8Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 19283178
9Flag of France.svg  France 18263074
10Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 17172054
Totals (10 nations)277266285828

Among the top individual medal winners was Mayumi Narita of Japan, who took seven golds and one bronze medal in swimming, setting six world records in the process and bringing her overall Paralympic gold medal total to fifteen. Chantal Petitclerc of Canada won five golds and set three world records in wheelchair racing, while Swedish shooter Jonas Jacobsson took four gold medals. [3] France's Béatrice Hess won her nineteenth and twentieth Paralympic gold medals in swimming. Swimmer Trischa Zorn of the United States won just one medal, a bronze, but it was her 55th ever Paralympic medal. She retained her position as the most successful Paralympian of all times. [4]

Mayumi Narita is a Japanese swimmer, described as "one of the world’s best Paralympic athletes" by the International Paralympic Committee. Japan Today has described her as a "swimming sensation perhaps as great as the Thorpedo but whose name few know". She has won 15 gold medals at the Paralympics, and 20 total.

Chantal Petitclerc Canadian paralympic athlete

Chantal Petitclerc, CC, CQ, MSM is a Canadian wheelchair racer and a Senator from Quebec.

Jonas Jacobsson Swedish disabled sports shooter

Jonas Jacobsson is a Swedish sport shooter who has won several gold medals at the Paralympic Games. He has participated in nine consecutive Summer Paralympics from 1980 to 2012, winning a total of seventeen gold, two silver, and nine bronze medals. In 1996, he won two gold medals in the air rifle 3×40 and English match events and a bronze in the air rifle prone at the Atlanta Paralympics. At the 2000 Summer Paralympics, he took two gold medals in the free rifle 3×40 and free rifle prone events and two bronzes in air rifle standing and air rifle prone events. Four years later, at the Athens Games, he competed in the same four events and won the gold medal in all of them.

Opening ceremony

From the Paralympics opening ceremony Paralympics Opening Ceremony.jpg
From the Paralympics opening ceremony

The opening ceremony for the 2004 Summer Paralympics took place on September 17, 2004. The show started with children passing on knowledge and raising their lights to the sky. This was a reference to Hippocrates, who transferred knowledge to the children. A 26 meters tall olive tree (with more than 195,000 leaves) symbolising life stood in the middle of the arena. The opening ceremony also featured a performance with human drama, with light and with music, in an allegory about obstacles and limits. The Parade of Delegations was accompanied by the music of French composers Yves Stepping and Jean Christophe. The music told the legend of Hephaestos, god of fire and son of Zeus and Hera. An athlete from Turkmenistan propelled himself around the stadium by doing somersaults. Greece, the home team, received a strong cheer. After that, fireworks erupted at the stadium. There were 150 local support staff involved and 400 volunteers. The children were from ages 8 to 17, coming from Australia, France, Spain, Greece and Germany. The Games were officially declared opened by Greek president Costis Stephanopoulos and Philip Craven, the president of the International Paralympic Committee. They were accompanied by the head of the organizing committee Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who told the athletes and the audience: "The Olympic flame illuminates athletes. Many of you will leave Athens with medals, but all of you will leave as champions." Phil Craven quoted Democritus in his speech: "Two thousand years ago, Democritus said 'To win oneself is the first and best of all victories.' This holds true for all athletes, but especially for Paralympians. Recognising and cultivating your unique abilities and mastering challenges – you set standards and give expression for many people, young and old, around the world." The Paralympic flame was lit by Paralympic athlete Georgios Toptsis who won bronze medals in 1988 and 1996 and won silver in 1992.

Hippocrates ancient Greek physician

Hippocrates of Kos, also known as Hippocrates II, was a Greek physician of the Age of Pericles, who is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. He is often referred to as the "Father of Medicine" in recognition of his lasting contributions to the field as the founder of the Hippocratic School of Medicine. This intellectual school revolutionized medicine in ancient Greece, establishing it as a discipline distinct from other fields with which it had traditionally been associated, thus establishing medicine as a profession.

Olive species of plant

The olive, known by the botanical name Olea europaea, meaning "European olive", is a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae, found in the Mediterranean Basin from Portugal to the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and southern Asia as far east as China, as well as the Canary Islands and Réunion. The species is cultivated in many places and considered naturalized in all the countries of the Mediterranean coast, as well as in Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Java, Norfolk Island, California, and Bermuda. Olea europaea is the type species for the genus Olea.

Allegory figure of speech

As a literary device, an allegory is a metaphor in which a character, place or event is used to deliver a broader message about real-world issues and occurrences. Allegory has occurred widely throughout history in all forms of art, largely because it can readily illustrate or convey complex ideas and concepts in ways that are comprehensible or striking to its viewers, readers, or listeners.

Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony for the 2004 Summer Paralympics took place on September 28, 2004. The traditional cultural display was removed from the ceremony as a mark of respect for the deaths of seven teenagers from Farkadona, travelling to Athens, whose bus collided with a truck near the town of Kamena Vourla. [5] [6]

Farkadona Place in Greece

Farkadona is a municipality in the southeastern Trikala regional unit, part of Thessaly in Greece. In 2011 its population was 2,652 for the town and 13,396 for the municipality. It is located about halfway between the cities Larissa to the east, and Trikala to the west, at about 30 km from both. It is situated in the Thessalian Plain, near the river Pineios. Farkadona is on the Greek National Road 6.

Kamena Vourla Place in Greece

Kamena Vourla is a town and a former municipality in Phthiotis, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Molos-Agios Konstantinos, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 117.496 km2. The population of the town proper was 2,796 at the 2011 census. The town was formerly known as Palaiochori.

"The Athens Olympics Organising Committee [ATHOC] has decided to cancel the closing ceremony of the 12th Athens Paralympics as initially planned and scheduled because of the tragic accident that cost the life of pupils. The artistic and entertainment part of the ceremony will not take place." (official statement) [6]

Flags were flown at half mast and a minute's silence was observed. In contrast with the formal nature of the opening ceremony, the athletes entered the stadium for the final time as a collective. The flag of the IPC was then officially handed over to the 2008 hosts, Beijing. An artistic presentation to acknowledge Beijing as the next host was still shown, which also unveiled the IPC's new logo. A procession of young people then made their way to join the athletes in the centre of the stadium carrying paper lanterns, before the Paralympic flame was extinguished, the final moment of the Paralympic Games. [7]

Media coverage controversy

Although the Paralympic Games were broadcast to around 1.6 billion viewers throughout 49 countries, [8] some controversy was caused when no American television network stayed to broadcast the event. [9] This resulted in some US viewers having to wait almost 2 months until the coverage was broadcast, compared with live feeds in the UK and other countries. [10]

Paralympic Media Awards

The BBC won the best broadcaster award. [11]

The Swedish men's goalball team at the 2004 Paralympic Games; the team won a silver medal Goalball vid Paralympics i Aten.jpg
The Swedish men's goalball team at the 2004 Paralympic Games; the team won a silver medal

The 2004 Summer Paralympics included 19 sports. New events featured in the Games were five-a-side blind football, women's sitting volleyball, and quads wheelchair tennis.

Results for individual events can be found on the relevant page.


In total 15 venues were used at the 2004 Summer Olympics. [12]



Faliro Coastal Zone Olympic Complex


Other Venues

Participating nations

Athletes from 135 nations competed in the Athens Paralympics. [13] Bangladesh, Botswana, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Suriname, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan all competed for the first time.

See also

Related Research Articles

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1980 Summer Paralympics

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1984 Summer Paralympics

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United States at the 2008 Summer Paralympics

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China at the 2004 Summer Paralympics

China competed at the 2004 Summer Paralympics, held in Athens, Greece. The country topped the medal table for the first time.

2014 Asian Para Games

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United States at the 2004 Summer Paralympics

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Canada at the 2000 Summer Paralympics

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Great Britain at the 2016 Summer Paralympics

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China at the 2016 Summer Paralympics

China has qualified to send athletes to the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 7 September to 18 September 2016. Sports China is competed in include blind football, archery, boccia, cycling, goalball, judo, paracanoeing, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

Japan at the 2016 Summer Paralympics

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Brazil at the 2016 Summer Paralympics

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  1. "Intellectual disability ban ends". BBC Sport. 21 November 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  2. "Paralympics set to alter entry policy". BBC News. 13 September 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  3. "Athens 2004 – General Information". International Paralympic Committee. 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  4. "Times Square Honors Athletes", International Paralympic Committee, January 5, 2005
  5. Jones, Sam (28 September 2004). "Seven children die in Paralympics bus crash". The Guardian . Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  6. 1 2 "Games finale cut after bus deaths". BBC News. 27 September 2004. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  7. "Games finale cut after bus deaths", BBC News Online , 2004-09-27
  8. "International Paralympic Committee Annual report 2004" Archived 2011-09-02 at the Wayback Machine , IPC
  9. "Athens advance Paralympics", BBC News Online , 2004-09-24
  10. "US TV Coverage of the Paralympics – starts November ...", paralympics.com , 2004-09-20
  11. "BBC given top Paralympic honour". BBC. 22 November 2005.
  12. "The Experience". Sydney 2000 Paralympics Organizing Committee. 2000. Archived from the original on 18 March 2006. Retrieved 25 October 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  13. "Athens 2004 Paralympics". International Paralympic Committee . Retrieved 2019-02-15.