List of athletes who have competed in the Paralympics and Olympics

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This is a list of athletes who have competed in the Paralympics and Olympics.


Long before the Paralympics, American gymnast George Eyser, who had a wooden leg, competed at the 1904 Summer Olympics, and won three gold medals, two silver and a bronze, including a gold in the vault, an event which then included a jump over a long horse without aid of a springboard. There have also been other amputee medallists at the Olympic Games prior to the creation of the Paralympics. Oliver Halassy of Hungary, whose left leg was amputated below the knee, won three medals (two gold and a silver) in water polo, in 1928, 1932 and 1936. Karoly Takacs, also of Hungary, won gold in shooting at the 1948 Summer Olympics. His right hand had been "shattered by a grenade" ten years earlier, and he had taught himself to shoot with his left. Deaf Hungarian fencer Ildikó Újlaky-Rejtő won two individual medals (a gold and a bronze) and five team medals at the Olympics between 1960 and 1976. Although her Olympic career coincided with the beginning of the Paralympics, she never competed in the latter, because Paralympic fencing is wheelchair fencing.[1][2]

Several athletes with disabilities have competed in both the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

New Zealander Neroli Fairhall was the first paraplegic competitor in the Olympic games. After competing in the 1980 Summer Paralympics, Fairhall won gold when archery was first introduced to the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in 1982. Another athlete, Canadian visually impaired Brian McKeever, was selected to compete at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, but was ultimately set aside by his coach.[3] However Brian's brother, Robin McKeever, who has won several medals at the Winter Paralympics as Brian's sighted guide, participated in cross-country skiing at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. Deaf South African swimmer Terence Parkin won a silver medal in the 200-meter breaststroke at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and also participated in 2004 in Athens, but never participated in the Paralympics as it does not cater for deaf swimmers.

South African runner Oscar Pistorius is the men's T43 world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 metres events.[4] With a 400 metres time of 45.07 seconds recorded on 19 July 2011, he achieved the "A" qualifying requirement for the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Summer Olympics. In London 2012, Pistorius became the first amputee to run at the Summer Olympic Games, where he competed in the 400m and 4 x 400 relay events, but did not win a medal.[5]

The two time winner of the Olympic Marathon, Ethiopian Abebe Bikila, a wheelchair user since a car accident in 1969, never participated in the Paralympic Games, because the Ethiopian Archery team failed to arrive in Heidelberg for the 1972 Summer Paralympics.[6][7]

The list[edit]

Athlete (Nation) Impairment Paralympic Games Olympic Games
Edition Sport Edition Sport
 Neroli Fairhall (NZL) Wheelchair user 1980 Arnhem
1988 Seoul
2000 Sydney
Archery 1984 Los Angeles Archery
 Pál Szekeres (HUN) Wheelchair user 1992 Barcelona
1996 Atlanta
2000 Sydney
2004 Athens
2008 Beijing
2012 London
Wheelchair fencing 1988 Seoul Fencing
 Sonia Vettenburg (BUL) Wheelchair user 1984 Los Angeles
1988 Seoul
Shooting sport 1992 Barcelona Shooting sport
 Paola Fantato (ITA) Wheelchair user due to


1988 Seoul
1992 Barcelona
1996 Atlanta
2000 Sydney
2004 Athens
Archery 1996 Atlanta Archery
 Marla Runyan (USA) visually impaired 1992 Barcelona
1996 Atlanta
Athletics 2000 Sydney
2004 Athens
 Orazio Fagone (ITA) leg amputation 2006 Turin
2010 Vancouver
Sledge hockey 1988 Calgary
1992 Albertsville
1994 Lillehammer
Short track
Natalia Partyka (POL).jpg  Natalia Partyka (POL) congenital amputation of right hand 2000 Sydney
2004 Athens
2008 Beijing
2012 London
Para table tennis 2008 Beijing
2012 London
Table tennis
 Natalie du Toit (RSA) leg amputation 2004 Athens
2008 Beijing
2012 London
Paralympic swimming 2008 Beijing Swimming
Oscar Pistorius 2 Daegu 2011.jpg  Oscar Pistorius (RSA) bilateral below-knee amputation 2004 Athens
2008 Beijing
2012 London
Athletics 2012 London Athletics
 Assunta Legnante (ITA) visually impaired 2012 London Athletics 2008 Beijing Athletics
 Pepo Puch (AUT) incomplete paraplegia 2012 London Equestrian 2004 Athens Equestrian
 Ilke Wyludda (GER) leg amputation 2012 London Athletics 1992 Barcelona
1996 Atlanta
2000 Sydney

Olympic and Paralympic medal winners[edit]

There is at present only one athlete who has won a medal at the Olympics prior to becoming disabled, and has then gone on to win medals at the Paralympics. Hungarian fencer Pál Szekeres won a bronze medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics, then was disabled in a bus accident, and went on to win three gold medals and three bronze in wheelchair fencing at the Paralympics.

In 2012, Craig MacLean, a British track cyclist and Olympic silver medalist was the sighted pilot for Anthony Kappes as they won gold in the 2012 Paralympic Games. For the first time in those games, the sighted guides of blind athletes were also awarded medals, and MacLean, although not himself disabled, became only the second athlete to win medals in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Swimmer Terence Parkin won a silver in the 200-meter breaststoke in Sydney in 2000, and two gold medals at the Deaflympics in 2005.[8][9][10]

Sighted guides[edit]

There are sighted guides, such as Robin McKeever and Craig McLean who have participated in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. McLean won a silver medal in the team sprint at the 2000 Olympic Games and a gold medal as a tandem pilot in the tandem sprint at the 2012 Paralympic Games [11]

Olympic wheelchair races[edit]

From 1984 to 2004, numerous athletes competed in wheelchair racing at the Olympics. Medals were not awarded and the contests were incorporated into the Olympics athletics programme as demonstration events only. Wheelchair competitors in these races are not typically considered to have competed in the Olympics programme proper, as they were neither medal events nor incorporated able-bodied athletes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Amputee Olympians". The Herald. August 4, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  2. ^ International Olympic Committee. "St. Louis 1904". Retrieved 2006-08-26. 
  3. ^ Visually impaired skier McKeever to be first winter athlete in both Olympics, Paralympics
  4. ^ PISTORIUS Oscar, International Paralympic Committee, archived from the original on 10 August 2012, retrieved 9 August 2012 
  5. ^ Robert Klemko (2012-08-10). "Oscar Pistorius makes history, leaves without medal". USA Today. 
  6. ^ "Abebe Bikila – Biography". Retrieved 7 September 2012. Late in 1969, Bikila was in a car accident, and the injuries he sustained rendered him a quadriparetic. After treatment at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, his condition improved to paraplegic, and he even competed as an archer in the 1969 Stoke Mandeville Games, the forerunner of the Paralympic Games. 
  7. ^ "Abebe Bikila – double Olympic marathon gold medallist and almost Paralympian!". Retrieved 7 September 2012. Bikila was actually entered in the archery St Nicholas round for tetraplegics at the Heidelberg Paralympic Games, having already been a guest of honour at the Munich Olympic Games for the men’s marathon race. However, for reason’s so far unexplained the whole Ethiopian team failed to arrive in Heidelberg for the Games. 
  8. ^ "Pal Szekeres : médaillé olympique et paralympique !", Radio Canada, September 23, 2004
  9. ^ "Hungarian Paralympic athlete Pal Szekeres's goal is to win gold", Xinhua, September 3, 2008
  10. ^ "Mr. Pal Szekeres", International Paralympic Committee
  11. ^ "Kappes & MacLean lead GB one-two". BBC News. 2 September 2012. 

External links[edit]