Paralympic symbols

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The Paralympic symbols are the icons, flags, and symbols used by the International Paralympic Committee to promote the Paralympic Games.


The Paralympic motto is "Spirit in Motion". The motto was introduced in 2004 at the Paralympic Games in Athens.[1] The previous motto was "Mind, Body, Spirit", introduced in 1994.[1]

Paralympic symbol[edit]


The Paralympic symbol consists of three agitos, coloured red, blue, and green, the three colours that are most widely represented in national flags around the world.

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.[1][2] 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 inspire and excite the world".[1][2]

The emblem was designed by the agency Scholz & Friends as a modernization of a tri-coloured emblem first adopted in 1992.[3] It was used in a formal capacity for the first time during the closing ceremony of the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, where a new Paralympic flag with the emblem was handed over to Beijing—host of the 2008 Summer Paralympics.[4][3] The agitos were used as part of the branding for a Paralympics for the first time at the 2006 Winter Paralympics.

In October 2019, the IPC unveiled a new corporate identity and a refreshed version of the Agitos emblem; the three crescents were changed to have a more "strict" geometry with consistent shapes and alignment, and the colours were brightened to match those used in the Olympic rings. The IPC also announced a new "brand narrative" of "Change Starts with Sport", to "better communicate the transformational impact the Paralympic Movement has on society and drive the human rights agenda."[5][6]

The first IPC agitos logo was used between 2003 and 2019.


First Paralympic symbol (1988–1994) used five pa.

The first designated Paralympic logo was created for the 1988 Summer Paralympics in Seoul and based on a traditional Korean decorative component called a pa {Hangul: 파; Hanja: 巴}, two of which make up the taegeuk symbol at the center of the flag of South Korea. The first Paralympic flag used five pa arranged similarly to the Olympic rings and coloured identically.[1][2]

On October 6, 1990, the International Coordinating Committee of World Sports Organizations for the Disabled (ICC) was informed that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) requested the five-pa symbol be altered — the IOC's marketing department considered it too similar to the Olympic rings.[1][2][7][8] A new symbol created for the IPC in 1991 included six overlapping pa in a circle. In November 1991, the IPC members voted against the new symbol, retaining the five-pa symbol. However, the IOC made clear that it would refuse further collaboration with the IPC if the five-pa symbol remained in place.[7]

Second Paralympic symbol (1994–2004) used three pa.

In March 1992,[7] the Paralympic symbol was changed to a version utilizing only three pa. This was not fully adopted until after the 1994 Winter Paralympics in Lillehammer, Norway, since the Lillehammer Paralympic Organizing Committee had by then already started a marketing program based on the five-pa version. The three-pa version remained in place from the close of the Lillehammer Games through the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece.[1][2]

Paralympic emblems[edit]

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.[9] 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.

Picture of the emblem for the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.
Floral display in Kew Gardens of the Paralympic symbol during the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.
  • 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 –The logo symbolizes an individual (man or woman) in a dynamic attitude in a wheelchair, "a human figure in a sports attitude". It was based upon a symbolic depiction of a human figure using a wheelchair. This design is an adapted version of the Olympic logo, with a simple modification: the athlete's legs are replaced by a circle symbolizing a wheelchair and the adapted sport. Red and yellow are the colors of Spain and meaning the sun and the life and blue is used to reference to the Mediterranean Sea and the "Mediterranean-ness" of Barcelona. The use of Times Demi Bold (New Roman) typography references antiquity and Romanness, Latin-ness and seriousness.[10]
  • Tignes 1992 – designed by Jean-Michel Folon
  • Lillehammer 1994 – Depicting the midnight sun and the people of Norway.[11]
  • Atlanta 1996 – Entitled ‘Starfire’ the logo for the Atlanta Paralympics was meant to represent the fulfilment of an athlete's dream. It may be interpreted as the star being the athlete and the fire being the passion that burns in the heart to fulfil their dreams. The fifth point of the star, revealed by the ‘dynamic flow of the rings’ represents the fulfilment of the athletes’ quest.[10]
  • Nagano 1998 – The logo design selected for the Nagano 1998 Winter Paralympics was designed by Sadahiko Kojima following the announcement of a national competition. It represents a simplified form of the Chinese character ‘naga’ for Nagano. It also symbolises a rabbit jumping and playing in snow or on ice with the swift movements that are characteristic of rabbits. This figure was combined with the Games details and the former IPC logo of three tae-gu
  • Sydney 2000 – The Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games logo embodies the vitality of Sydney, the spirit of Australia and the ability and achievement of the Paralympic athlete. The logo depicts a dynamic human form — represented by three graphic shapes — leaping triumphantly forward and “breaking through” towards the Paralympic Games in 2000. It also portrays the Paralympic torch and echoes the sails of Sydney's greatest landmark, the Sydney Opera House. The logo cast by the three Paralympic colors represented by Australia's unique shades of these colors: the rich blue of Sydney Harbour, the warm red of the earth, and the lush green of the forest .[12]
  • Salt Lake 2002 – The logo for the Salt Lake Paralympics can be split into three distinct parts making up the whole. The sphere at the top represents both the global unity of the Paralympic Movement and also the head of the Paralympic athlete, which the overall logo appears to depict. The two broad fluid lines represent the athlete in motion with the three tae-guks, the former IPC logo, beneath the athlete.[12]
  • Athens 2004 – The logo aims to embody the strength and determination of the Paralympic athlete. It features the profile of an athlete – male or female – looking forward, symbolising optimism for the future. At the same time, this human face attempts to reflect the individual's willpower and determination to succeed in all pursuits. The face's lines are smooth, its colour a warm and bright orange (Hephaestus color)– harbinger of the great celebration to come.[13]
  • Torino 2006 – Three graphic elements represent human figures creating an upward soaring movement. Designed by the Benincasa-Husmann studio[12]
  • Beijing 2008 – Dubbed ‘Sky, Earth and Human Beings’ and unveiled during a grand ceremony at the China Millennium Monument on July 13, 2004 in Beijing, the logo for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games is in the form of an athlete in motion. It is intended to embody the tremendous efforts that persons with a disability have to make in sport as well as in everyday life. It is typically Chinese in its form and style and the three colours used represent the sun (red), the sky (blue) and the earth (green). They are also intended to reflect the integration of heart, body and spirit, which are at the core of Chinese culture as well as the Paralympic Games.[14]
  • Vancouver 2010 – "Man becomes Mountain": Captures the image of Vancouver and Whistler's coastal forests, mountains, and sky[15]
  • London 2012 – This logo was designed by Wolff Olins, was published on 4 June 2007. It is a representation of the number 2012, with the Paralympic Agitos embedded within the zero.[16] The standard colours are green, magenta, orange and blue.In order to differentiate the two logos, tactile marks were made within the number 2012.[17][18] The emblem was released on the same day as the emblem for the Olympic Games.
  • Sochi 2014 – "" 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 – A stylized heart in 3D, symbolizing inclusion, passion, tolerance and the warmth of Brazilians.[19]
  • PyeongChang 2018 - The Korean letter that symbolises snow, ice and the Paralympic athletes.The two letters together are said to portray a grand festival for the athletes, the audience and everyone around the globe. The letters sitting side-by-side also signify equality, with South Korea's five cardinal colours being used to represent the uniqueness of each individual.
  • Tokyo 2020 – The Paralympic emblem features a hand fan in a circle form, filled with an indigo-colored checkerboard pattern. The design is meant to "express a refined elegance and sophistication that exemplifies Japan". The designs replaced a previous emblem which had been scrapped due to allegations that it plagiarized the logo of the Théâtre de Liège in Belgium.
  • Beijing 2022 - It is an inspiration of a skater and skier with a ribbon motif and the Chinese character "飞" (fēi, means fly), with the Paralympic colors and the Chinese flag colors.
  • Paris 2024 - The emblem for the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics was unveiled on 21 October 2019 at the Grand Rex. For the first time, a Paralympic Games will share the exact same emblem as their corresponding Olympics, with no difference or variation to reflect the two events sharing a single "ambition", explaining that "in terms of legacy we believe that in this country we need to strengthen the place of sport in the daily life of the people, and whatever the age, whatever the disability or not, you have a place and a role to play in the success of Paris 2024.
  • Milan & Cortina 2026 -
  • Los Angeles 2028 -
  • Brisbane 2032 -


The International Paralympic Committee
Paralympic flag (2019 10).svg
NameThe Paralympic agitos
UseSport Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag
Proportion3:5 or 1:2
Adopted20 October 2019
The Paralympic flag

The Paralympic flag has a white background, with the Paralympic symbol in the centre.

The current version of the Paralympic flag was first flown in 2019.

Flame and torch relay[edit]

View of the Paralympic cauldron alight in the night sky at the 2000 Summer Paralympics

Until the 2010 Winter Paralympics, the host country chose the site and the method through which the Paralympic Torch was lit.[20] 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 capitals 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 2012 Paralympic Flame. In the future not only flames from regions of the host country will be united, but also other international flames.[21] 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.[22] 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.

For the first time, on 1 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.[23]


Ian Sharpe's Paralympic medal from Sydney in 2000

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.


Anthem of the Future
French: Hymne de l’Avenir
German: Hymne der Zukunft
Hymne de l’Avenir
Hymne der Zukunft

Official and Paralympic anthem of Paralympic Games and the International Paralympic Committee
LyricsGraeme Connors, 2001
MusicThierry Darnis, March 1996
Audio sample
Paralympic Anthem

The Paralympic Anthem, also known as the Paralympic Hymn, is played when the Paralympic Flag is raised. It is a musical piece, "Hymne de l’Avenir" (en. "Anthem of the Future") composed by Thierry Darnis. The anthem was approved by the IPC in March 1996.[24]

Australian country singer Graeme Connors wrote the lyrics for the anthem in 2001. As of 2022, the lyrics are implemented yet.[25]

Paralympic Oath[edit]

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.

The athlete, from the team of the organizing country, holds a corner of the Paralympic Flag while reciting the oath:

Athletes' Oath

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.[26]

The judge, also from the host nation, 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.[27]

The coach, from the host nation, holds a corner of the flag but takes a slightly different oath:

Coaches' Oath

In the name of all coaches and other members of the athletes entourage, I promise that we shall commit ourselves to ensuring that the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play is fully adhered to and upheld in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Paralympic movement.


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.[28] The first Coach's Oath was taken at the Paralympic Games in London in 2012.


Athletes and judges that have taken the Paralympic Oath are listed below.[26][28]

Paralympic Oath
Paralympics Athlete Judge (Official) Coach
1960 Summer Paralympics Franco Rossi
1964 Summer Paralympics Shigeo Aono
1968 Summer Paralympics Zvi Ben-Zvi
1972 Summer Paralympics Marga Floer Unknown
1976 Winter Paralympics Unknown Unknown
1976 Summer Paralympics Eugene Reimer Unknown
1980 Winter Paralympics Unknown Unknown
1980 Summer Paralympics Irene Schmidt Henk Boersbroek
1984 Winter Paralympics Unknown Unknown
1984 Summer Paralympics Ólavur Kongsbak (NY)
John Harris (SM)
Jack Abramson (NY)
Ronald Nicholls (SM)
1988 Winter Paralympics Unknown Unknown
1988 Summer Paralympics So-Boo Kim Unknown
1992 Winter Paralympics Ludovic Rey-Robert Unknown
1992 Summer Paralympics José Manuel Rodríguez Ibáñez Unknown
1994 Winter Paralympics Cato Zahl Pedersen Unknown
1996 Summer Paralympics Trischa Zorn Unknown
1998 Winter Paralympics Ryuei Shinohe Takashi Takano
2000 Summer Paralympics Tracey Cross Mary Longden
2002 Winter Paralympics Sarah Billmeier Unknown
2004 Summer Paralympics Maria Kalpakidou Vlassis Tamvakieras
2006 Winter Paralympics Fabrizio Zardini Mauro Scanacapra
2008 Summer Paralympics Wu Chunmiao[29] Hao Guohua[29]
2010 Winter Paralympics Herve Lord[30] Linda Kirton[31]
2012 Summer Paralympics Liz Johnson[32] Richard Allcroft[32] David Hunter[32]
2014 Winter Paralympics Valery Redkozubov Elena Mokerova Alexander Nazarov[33]
2016 Summer Paralympics Phellipe Rodrigues Raquel Daffre Amaury Veríssimo
2018 Winter Paralympics Lee Ju-seung
2020 Summer Paralympics Shingo Kunieda Nobuyuki Azuma Yumiko Taniguchi
Rie Urata

Paralympic Order[edit]

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.[34][35]


Starting in 2022, the International Paralympic Committee introduced post nominals, PLY, to recognize their contribution to the Paralympic movement, similar to the International Olympic Committee's OLY. It was first awarded to Ragnhild Myklebust and Kevin Coombs.[36][37]


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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "New Logo and Motto for IPC". International Paralympic Committee. 2003. Archived from the original on 6 April 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e International Paralympic Committee – The IPC logo, motto and flag,
  3. ^ a b "No. 18: The Agitos, the Paralympic symbol is unveiled". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  4. ^ New Logo and Motto for IPC Archived 6 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine, International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
  5. ^ "IPC Launches New Look: Change Starts with Sport". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  6. ^ "Refreshed IPC logo designed to give "parity" with Olympic Rings". Retrieved 30 July 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ a b c Vom Rehabilitationssport zu den Paralympics Archived 5 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine (German), Sportmuseum Leipzig
  8. ^ Athlete first: a history of the paralympic movement, by Steve Bailey, Google Books
  9. ^ Paralympic Emblems Archived 4 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine, The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
  10. ^ a b , Paralympic Anorak
  11. ^ Lillehammer 1994, International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
  12. ^ a b c An introduction to emblems and mascots of Paralympic Games (photos attached) Archived 7 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine, The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
  13. ^ Emblems of Paralympic Summer Games – Athens 2004 Archived 26 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
  14. ^ Beijing Paralympics Emblem unveiled (photo attached) Archived 6 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine, The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, July 13, 2004
  15. ^ Vancouver 2010 paralympic games Emblem Graphic standards Archived 26 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine, The Official Website of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games
  16. ^ "London 2012 logo to be unveiled". BBC Sport. 4 June 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2007.
  17. ^ "Get involved: Handover – London 2012". Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  19. ^ Paralympic Emblem Archived 4 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Official Website of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, December 25, 2015
  20. ^ Games symbols and mascots, Get Set – London 2012 Education Programme
  21. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 October 2021. Retrieved 11 March 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ Stoke Mandeville, Stoke Mandeville to feature in all Paralympic Games Torch Relays
  23. ^ "First ever Heritage Flame lit at Stoke Mandeville in a historic moment for Paralympic Movement". 1 January 1970. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  24. ^ IPC Handbook – Bylaws Governance and Organizational Structure Archived 26 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine (.pdf file), International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
  25. ^ "The Paralympian 4/2001 - Editorial". 6 January 2002. Archived from the original on 6 January 2002. Retrieved 20 March 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  26. ^ a b Paralympic Winter Games History, The Official Web Site of the U.S. Olympic Committee
  27. ^ Summary of the Opening Ceremony Archived 12 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine, The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, September 6, 2008
  28. ^ a b Paralympic Oath Archived 19 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine (.pdf file), International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
  29. ^ a b China opens Beijing Paralympic Games in celebration of life and humanity, English People's Daily Online, September 7, 2008
  30. ^ Paralympic Games kick off in Vancouver Archived 22 March 2010 at, National Post, March 12, 2010
  31. ^ Abby curl official to read Paralympic oath Archived 12 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine,, March 8, 2010
  32. ^ a b c Michael Hirst BBC 2012 (30 August 2012). "Paralympic Games 'return home' to UK". Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  33. ^ "Sochi 2014 Paralympic Opening Ceremony lights up Russia". 7 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  34. ^ The Paralympian – Issue 1/2010 Archived 19 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine, The Paralympian page 14, International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
  35. ^ Paralympic Order, International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
  36. ^ "IPC introduces PLY post-nominal titles to recognise Paralympians".
  37. ^ "The Paralympic pioneers who helped create a PLY legacy".

External links[edit]