The symbol of the Paralympic Games is composed of three "agitos", coloured red, blue, and green, encircling a single point, on a white field. The agito ("I move" in Latin) is a symbol of movement in the shape of an asymmetrical crescent. The Paralympic symbol was created by the Scholz & Friends agency and approved in April 2003.
The colours of the agitos with the white background stand for the three colours that are most widely represented in national flags around the world. The three agitos encircle a centre point, to emphasize "the role that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has of bringing athletes from all corners of the world together and enabling them to compete". The shape also symbolises the Paralympic vision "To Enable Paralympic Athletes to Achieve Sporting Excellence and to Inspire and Excite the World".
This Paralympic symbol was first used in publications and other products in 2003. Due to limited time before the 2004 Paralympic Summer Games in Athens, the new symbol was not used by participating delegations during the Games. At the 2004 Closing Ceremony however, the flag that was handed over to Beijing had the new symbol. The symbol was first used in a Paralympic emblem at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Torino.
The previous Paralympic symbols were based on the traditional Korean decorative component called "tae-geuk". The ones shown on the flags were half of the taegeuk in different colours The first Paralympic symbol used five tae-geuks arranged similarly to the Olympic Rings and was introduced at the 1988 Summer Paralympics in Seoul, Korea. The colours were also the same as in the Olympic Rings: blue, black, red, yellow and green.
On October 6, 1990, the International Coordinating Committee of World Sports Organizations for the Disabled (ICC) was informed that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) expressed concerns over the symbol with the five tae-geuks. The symbol was considered too similar to the Olympic rings, by the IOC Marketing Department, and should not be used.
A new symbol was created for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), which included six tae-gueks in a circle. In November 1991, the IPC members voted against the new symbol, and decided to keep the five tae-geuks-symbol. However, using the five-tae-geuk symbol, which the IOC disapproved of, would exclude collaborative work with the IOC.
In March 1992, the Paralympic symbol was changed to a version with three tae-gueks. This was not used until after the 1994 Winter Paralympics in Lillehammer, Norway, since the Lillehammer Paralympic Organizing Committee (LPOC) had by then already started a marketing program for the 1994 Paralympics, that was based on the five tae-geuks version. The last Paralympics to use the three-tae-geuk version was the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece.
Each Paralympic Games has its own Paralympic emblem. The city that hosts the Paralympic Games creates a symbol to represent the event. See Category:Summer Paralympic Games and Category:Winter Paralympic Games for various Paralympic emblems. This design incorporates the Paralympic symbol, the name of the event, and one or more distinctive elements to identify the event.
It is the responsibility of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to approve Paralympic emblems for the Paralympic Games. The Paralympic emblems are used in promotional materials, by sponsors of the Paralympics, and on the uniforms of every Paralympic competitor. All emblems are the property of the IPC.
- Rome 1960 -
- Tokyo 1964 -
- Tel Aviv 1968 -
- Heidelberg 1972 -
- Toronto 1976 -
- Örnsköldsvik 1976 -
- Arnhem 1980 -
- Geilo 1980 -
- Stoke Mandeville & New York 1984 -
- Innsbruck 1984 -
- Seoul 1988 -
- Innsbruck 1988 -
- Barcelona 1992 -
- Tignes 1992 - designed by Jean-Michel Folon
- Lillehammer 1994 - Depicting the sun people.
- Atlanta 1996 -
- Nagano 1998 -
- Sydney 2000 - Three graphic shapes, portrays the Paralympic torch, echoes the sails of Sydney's Opera House.
- Salt Lake 2002 - Three distinct marks: A sphere over two broad fluid lines.
- Athens 2004 - Features the profile of an athlete—male or female—looking forward.
- Torino 2006 - Three graphic elements represent human figures creating an upward soaring movement. Designed by the Benincasa-Husmann studio
- Beijing 2008 - "Sky, Earth and Human Being": A figure of an athlete in motion, in the shape of the Chinese character "zhi."
- Vancouver 2010 - "Man becomes Mountain": Captures the image of Vancouver and Whistler’s coastal forests, mountains, and sky
- London 2012 - This is the first time that the same essential logo shape is to be used for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The standard colours are green, magenta, orange and blue, and the image is based on the date 2012. Created by designers at Wolff Olins. The emblem was released on the same day as the emblem for the Olympic Games.
- Sochi 2014 - "sochi2014.ru" is the only Paralympic emblem to include a web address. The mirror of "Sochi" and "2014" 'reflects' that Sochi is a meeting point between sea and mountains. The same essential logo shape is to be used for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The emblem was released on December 12, 2009, ca 11 days after the emblem for the Olympic Games.
- Rio 2016 -
The Paralympic flag has a white background, with the Paralympic symbol in the centre.
The current Paralympic flag was first flown during the Closing Ceremony of the Athens Paralympic Games in 2004.
Flame and torch relay
Until the 2010 Winter Paralympics the host country chose the site and the method through which the Paralympic Torch was lit. Since the 2012 Summer Paralympics, the concept of the Paralympic Torch Relay has changed and the Official Paralympic Flame is always created in the Games Host City by uniting different regional flames. For London 2012 four regional flames from the national captitals of London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff were brought together in Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement, on 29 August 2012 to create the London Paralympic Flame. In the future not only flames from regions of the host country will be united, but also other international flames. As such Stoke Mandeville will feature in all future Paralympic Torch Relays with the lighting of the Heritage Flame which will then travel to the host city to join all other flames. During the final 1–2 days the torch follows a linear relay route and, on the day of the Opening Ceremony, the Flame reaches the main stadium and is used to light a cauldron situated in a prominent part of the venue to signify the beginning of the Games. Then it is left to burn throughout the Games till the Closing Ceremony, when it is extinguished to signify the end of the Games.
As of the 1st March 2014 Stoke Mandeville ran the first ever Heritage Flame lighting ceremony in advance of the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics. An Armillary Sphere has been created which will be used at all future Heritage Flame events to create the spark by human endeavor of a wheelchair user. London 2012 paralympian Hannah Cockroft was the first person to create the spark where Caz Walton lit the Sochi Torch and Cauldron, Andy Barlow transferred the flame to Sochi and finally Denise Knibbs lit the Paralympic lantern.
The Paralympic medals awarded to winners are another symbol associated with the Paralympic Games. The medals are made of gold-plated silver (commonly described as gold medals), silver, or bronze, and awarded to the top 3 finishers in a particular event.
For each Paralympic Games, the medals are designed differently, reflecting the host of the games.
Approved by the IPC in March 1996
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The Paralympic Anthem, also known as the Paralympic Hymn, is played when the Paralympic Flag is raised. It is a musical piece, "Hymn de l’Avenir" (en. "Anthem of the Future") composed by Thierry Darnis. The anthem was approved by the IPC in March 1996.
The Paralympic Oath is a solemn promise made by one athlete—as a representative of each of the participating Paralympic competitors; and by one judge—as a representative of each officiating Paralympic referee or other official, at the opening ceremonies of each Paralympic Games.
- In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Paralympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams.
The judge, also from the host nation, likewise holds a corner of the flag but takes a slightly different oath:
Judges' Oath (Officials' Oath)
- In the name of all the judges and officials, I promise that we shall officiate in these Paralympic Games with complete impartiality, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them in the true spirit of sportsmanship.
The first Paralympic Oath was taken at the first Paralympic Games, in Rome in 1960. The Paralympic Oath is identical to the Olympic Oath, with the exception of the word 'Olympic' being substituted by 'Paralympic'. The Oath was originally written by Pierre de Coubertin. The first oath (an Athlete's Oath) was taken at the Olympic Games in Antwerp in 1920. The original text by Coubertin, has since been modified several times. The first Judge's/Official's Oath was taken at the Olympic Games in Sapporo in 1972. The first Coach's Oath was taken at the Paralympic Games in London in 2012.
The Paralympic Order is the highest award of the Paralympic Movement. The recipients get a medal with the IPC logo on it. The Paralympic Order is awarded to individuals for particularly distinguished contribution to the Paralympic Movement.
Each Paralympic Games have a mascot, usually an animal native to the area or occasionally human figures representing the cultural heritage. Nowadays, most of the merchandise aimed at young people focuses on the mascots, rather than the Paralympic flag or organization logos.
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- Vom Rehabilitationssport zu den Paralympics (German), Sportmuseum Leipzig
- Google translate, Google translate
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- Lillehammer 1994, International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
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- Beijing Paralympics Emblem unveiled (photo attached), The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, July 13, 2004
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- Get involved: Handover - London 2012[dead link]
- Games symbols and mascots, Get Set - London 2012 Education Programme
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- IPC Handbook - Bylaws Governance and Organizational Structure (.pdf file), International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
- Graeme Connors adds Lyrics to Paralympic Hymn, International Paralympic Committee (IPC), 2001
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- Summary of the Opening Ceremony, The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, September 6, 2008
- Paralympic Oath (.pdf file), International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
- China opens Beijing Paralympic Games in celebration of life and humanity, English People's Daily Online, September 7, 2008
- Paralympic Games kick off in Vancouver, National Post, March 12, 2010
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- Michael Hirst BBC 2012 (2012-08-30). "Paralympic Games 'return home' to UK". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- "Sochi 2014 Paralympic Opening Ceremony lights up Russia". paralympic.org. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
- The Paralympian - Issue 1/2010, The Paralympian page 14, International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
- Paralympic Order, International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
- Official site of the Paralympic Movement - Images and information on every game since 1960.
-  - The Paralympic Flag