Great Britain at the Paralympics
|Great Britain at the Paralympic Games|
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has participated (under the name "Great Britain") in every Summer and Winter Paralympic Games.
While the Olympic Games find their origin in Greece, Britain, and specifically the Stoke Mandeville Hospital is recognised as the spiritual home of the Paralympic Games. The first Paralympic Games, held in Rome in 1960, were devised as a direct result of the Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games, devised by Dr Ludwig Guttmann for soldiers with spinal cord injuries.
Britain has performed particularly well at the Summer Paralympic Games, consistently finishing between second and fifth on the medal tables - a slightly better performance than at the Olympics. Britain has yet to win a gold medal at the Winter Paralympics, despite having won 493 at the Summer Games. Britain is second on the all-time Paralympic Games medal table.
Although the country uses the name "Great Britain", athletes from Northern Ireland are entitled to compete as part of British delegations. Representatives of the devolved Northern Ireland government, however, have objected to the name, which they argue creates a perception that Northern Ireland is not part of the British Olympic team, and have called for the team to be renamed as Team UK.
Under the terms of a long-standing settlement between the British Olympic Association and the Olympic Council of Ireland, athletes from Northern Ireland can elect to represent Ireland at the Olympics, as Northern Irish people are legally entitled to dual citizenship.
Britain's most successful Paralympian is swimmer Mike Kenny who won 16 gold medals in four Games. Although Great Britain has competed in every Games, the British Paralympic Committee was only founded in 1989, after Kenny's retirement. Media in Britain consistently refer to the most decorated Paralympic athletes from that year, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Dave Roberts and Sarah Storey as Britain's "greatest Paralympians", occasionally with the phrase "of the modern era", attached. The International Paralympic Committee, however, recognise all of Kenny's eighteen gold medals as Paralympic golds.
Medals by Summer Games
Host country (Great Britain)
|1984 Stoke Mandeville
1984 New York
Medals by Winter Games
|2002 Salt Lake City||0||0||0||0||23|
Medals by individuals
|Kenny, MikeMike Kenny||Swimming||1976–88||Summer||M||16||2||0||18|
|Grey-Thompson, TanniTanni Grey-Thompson||Wheelchair racing||1992–2000||Summer||F||11||4||1||16|
|Roberts, DaveDave Roberts||Swimming||2000–8||Summer||M||11||4||1||16|
|Storey, SarahSarah Storey||Swimming, Cycling||1992–2004||Summer||F||11||8||3||22|
|Pearson, LeeLee Pearson||Equestrian||2000-12||Summer||M||10||1||1||12|
- "No place for 'NI', says Olympic Team GB", Belfast Telegraph, 10 March 2011
- "Minister urges BOA to change 'erroneous Team GB name'". BBC News. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- "Full text of the constitution" (PDF). Department of the Taoiseach. Retrieved 2010-02-17.
- "Mike Kenny (swimmer)". Paralympians' Club. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- "Sarah Storey Britain's greatest Paralympian of the modern era". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
- "Meet Britain's other greatest Paralympian". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- Olympic Broadcasting Service, channel IPC1, Paralympics International Feed, "2012 Summer Paralympics Opening Ceremonies", airdate 29 August 2012
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