International Paralympic Committee

For other uses, see IPC.
Comité international paralympique
International Paralympic Committee
Motto Spirit in Motion
Formation 22 September 1989
Type Sports federation
Headquarters Bonn, Germany
176 National Paralympic Committees
Official language
Sir Philip Craven

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is an international non-profit organisation and the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Paralympic Games and functions as the international federation for nine sports. Founded on 22 September 1989 in Düsseldorf, Germany, its mission is "To enable Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world". Furthermore, the IPC wants to promote the Paralympic values and to create sport opportunities for all persons with a disability, from beginner to elite level.

The IPC has a democratic constitution and structure and is composed of representatives from 176 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), four international organizations of sport for the disabled (IOSDs) and five regional organizations. The IPC's headquarters is located in Bonn, Germany.

On the basis of being able to organize the Paralympic Games more efficiently and to give the Paralympic Movement one voice, the four international organizations combined under the IOSD founded the International Co-ordination Committee of World Sports Organizations for the Disabled (ICC) in 1982. In the upcoming years, other organizations joined and the need for a democratically guided organization emerged, demanded by the nations participating in the Paralympic Movement. They desired a democratic structure, to improve national and regional representation, which led to the foundation of the IPC as we know it today. The 1994 Winter Paralympics, Norway, were the first to be organized by the IPC.

The IPC functions as an umbrella organization, representing several sports and disabilities, in contrast to other international sports organizations for athletes with a disability, which are predominantly limited to a single sport or disability.

The word "Paralympic" derives from the Greek preposition "para" ("beside" or "alongside"). and "Olympics". The first connotation connected to the syllable "para" was paralysis or paraplegia. But since the Paralympics cover different disability groups and the close association to the Olympic Movement, "para" underlines the existence of both movements side by side.

A fifteen-member Governing Board oversees the IPC between meetings of the General Assembly. Dr. Robert D. Steadward became the first President in 1989. Since 2001, Sir Philip Craven is President of the IPC, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee.

The number of athletes and nations participating in the Paralympic Games and thus being part of the Paralympic Movement is constantly increasing, along with the audience. Sport for persons with a disability is growing on a national and international level.


The International Paralympic Committee has had two presidents to date. Its founding president, who presided it from 1989 to 2001, was the Canadian Robert Steadward, who had previously founded the Canadian Sports Fund for the Physically Disabled.[1] He was succeeded in 2001 by Philip Craven, a British former Paralympic athlete, who remains president as of 2016.[2][3]

Name Country Term
Robert Steadward  Canada 1989–2001
Sir Philip Craven  United Kingdom 2001–2016

Governing Board

IPC headquarters in Bonn

The IPC Governing Board consists of 14 members elected at the General Assembly, including the President and Vice President. 12 members were elected on 24 November 2013 to four year teams:[3]

The Athletes' Representative, which has voting rights on the board, is ice sledge hockey player from Canada Todd Nicholson. Two members of the board without voting rights are the co-opted member Bernard Bourigeaud (NPC France), and the CEO Xavier Gonzalez (Spain).[4]

IPC Honorary Board

The IPC has an honorary board of distinguished individuals who support the IPC's goals and use their profile to raise funds and awareness for its work.[5]

Current honorary board members are:


Chronology of milestones in the development of the International Paralympic Committee and the Summer and Winter Paralympics.

Year Event
1944Dr Ludwig Guttmann established the Spinal Injuries Centre at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital[6][7]
1948On 29 July, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr Ludwig Guttmann organised the first competition for wheelchair athletes which he named the Stoke Mandeville Games, a milestone in Paralympics history. They involved 16 injured servicemen and women who took part in archery[8]
1952Dutch ex-servicemen travelled to England to compete against British athletes and this led to the establishment of the International Stoke Mandeville Games.[8]
1955International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (CISS) officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).[7]
196018 – 25 September - Rome Summer Paralympics - 400 athletes from 23 countries ; 57 events in 8 sports.[9] These Games became known as the 1st Summer Paralympic Games and were the 9th International Stoke Mandeville Games. The Games followed the Rome Olympics and used same venues.
1960International Stoke Mandeville Games Committee (ISMGC) established.[7]
1962International Sports Organisation for the Disabled (IOSD) was established to assist visually impaired, amputees, persons with cerebral palsy and paraplegics who were not eligible to compete at the International Stoke Mandeville Games.[8]
19643 – 12 November - Tokyo Summer Paralympics - 375 athletes from 21 countries ; 144 events in 9 sports. Weightlifting added to the program.[9] Opening ceremony held in front of 5,000 spectators.[10]
19684–13 November - Tel Aviv Summer Paralympics - 750 athletes from 29 countries ; 181 events in 10 sports.[9] New sports included lawn bowls, women's basketball and Men's 100m wheelchair race.
19722 – 11 August - Heidelberg Summer Paralympics - 984 athletes from 43 countries ; 1987 events in 10 sports.[9] Events for quadriplegic added to program for the first time.[9] Demonstration events for visually impaired athletes.[9] Heidelberg was used as the Olympic Village in Munich was unavailable as it was converted into private apartments.[10]
19763–11 August - Toronto Summer Paralympics - 1657 athletes from 38 countries ; 447 events in 13 sports.[9] Amputee and vision impaired athletes competed for the first time.[6][7]goalball, shooting and standing volleyball added to program.[9] Specialized racing wheelchairs used for the first time.[9]
197621–28 February - Örnsköldsvik Winter Paralympics - 198 athletes from 16 countries ; 53 events in 2 sports. First Winter Paralympics. Games demonstrated innovations in ski equipment design with 'three-track skiing' using crutches. Demonstration event was sledge racing.[11]
1976UNESCO Conference established the right for people with a disability to participate in sport and physical education.[7]
198021–30 June - Arnhem Summer Paralympics - 1973 athletes from 42 countries ; 489 events in 12 sports. Sitting volleyball added to the program.[9] Moscow declined to host the Games.[10] Cerebral palsy athletes compete for the first time.[6][9] There were 12,000 spectators at the opening ceremony.[10]
19801–7 February - Geilo Winter Paralympics - 350 athletes from 18 countries;[11] 63 events in 2 sports. Amputee, visual impairment and les autres compete for the first time at a Winter Games.[11]
1982International Co-ordination Committee of World Sports Organisations for the Disabled (ICC) was established by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to the need for a single governing body to look after disability sport [6][12]
198417–30 June (US) / 22 July - 1 August (UK) - Stoke Mandeville/New York Summer Paralympics - 1100 athletes from 41 countries (UK) and 1,800 from 45 countries (USA) ; 903 events in 18 sports.[9] New York Games were held at the Hofstra University and events were held for amputees, les austres, cerebral palsy and vision impaired athletes. Stoke Mandeville Games were for athletes with a spinal cord disability. It was decided that future Games should be held in one city. boccia, road cycling and football 7-a-side added to program.[9]
198414–20 January - Innsbruck Winter Paralympics - 457 athletes from 21 countries;[11] 107 events in 3 sports. Cerebral palsy athletes compete for the first time.[11]
19841984 Los Angeles Olympics included Men's 1500m and Women's 800m wheelchair races as demonstration events.
1984The term Paralympic Games approved by the IOC.[7] It was used in the lead up to the 1988 Seoul Paralympics.[6]
198815–24 October - Seoul Summer Paralympics - 3057 athletes from 61 countries ; 732 events in 16 sports. The Games utilized Olympic facilities.[9] For the first time short stature athletes competed in the les autres category.[6]Judo was added to the program [9] and Wheelchair tennis was a demonstration sport.
198817–24 January - Innsbruck Winter Paralympics - 397 athletes from 22 countries;[11] 96 events in 4 sports. Sit ski events introduced in the sports of alpine and Nordic skiing.[11]
1989On 22 September, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) replaced the ICC as the governing body of the Paralympic movement with Canadian Robert Steadward as its inaugural President.[13][14]
1990ISMFG changed its name to International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation (ISMWSF).
1990 IPC agreement with the that ICC so that it remained responsible for the Paralympic Games until after the 1992 Barcelona Paralympic Games.[14]
19923–14 September - Barcelona Summer Paralympics - 3001 athletes from 33 countries:[9] 431 events in 16 sports Wheelchair tennis was a medal sport for the first time. IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch attended and endorsed the Games.[7] Inaugural Paralympics for Persons with an Intellectual Disability held in Madrid, Spain immediately after the Games.[9] Final Games organized by ICC.[14]
199225 March - 1 April - Tignes/Albertville Winter Paralympics - 475 athletes from 24 countries;[11] 78 events in 3 sports. Biathlon added to the program.[11] Demonstration events held for athletes with an intellectual disability in alpine and cross country skiing.[11] First Winter Games to share Olympic venues.[11]
1992Logo Mind, Body and Spirit (3 tae-guks) adopted by IPC and used until 2003.[6][14]
1993IPC established a Sport Science Committee.[7]
199410–19 March - Lillehammer Winter Paralympics - 492 athletes from 31 countries;[11] 133 events in 5 sports. First Winter Games held under IPC control and Games aligned to revised Winter Olympic Games four year schedule. Ice sledge hockey added to the program.[11]
1995International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (CISS) withdraws from the IPC.[14]
199616–25 August - Atlanta Summer Paralympics - 3259 athletes from 104 countries ; 508 events in 20 sports. Athletes with an intellectual disability included for the first time at a Summer Games. equestrian and track cycling discipline added to the program [9] and sailing was a demonstration sport. IPC officially hosted the Games for the first time and assumed responsibility for future Games.[7] First Games to attract worldwide sponsorship. 12,000 volunteers assisted with the operation of the Games.[10]
19985–14 March - Nagano Winter Paralympics - 571 athletes from 32 countries;[11] 122 events in 4 sports. Athletes with an intellectual disability included for the first time at a Winter Games. With the internet in its infancy, the official website recorded 7.7 million hits during the Games.[10]
1999IPC moved into what remains its current Headquarters in Bonn, Germany.[12] IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch attended opening.[14]
1999INAS-FMH changed its name to International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability(INAS-FID).
2000 18–29 October - Sydney Summer Paralympics - 3881 athletes from 122 countries;[9] 551 events in 20 sports. First Games held in the Southern Hemisphere. Women's events were included in the powerlifting program and wheelchair rugby and sailing were medal sports for the first time.[9] IOC signed a co-operation agreement with IPC to strengthen their relationship.[7][14] Games had comprehensive international television coverage for the first time. Over 340,000 school children attended and were given an insight into Paralympic sport.[10]
2001 Robert Steadward was succeeded by the former British Paralympian Sir Philip Craven after serving three terms as President.[12][14]
2001On 19 June, IPC and IOC signed an agreement that ensured the practice of “one bid, one city,” meaning the same city will host both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.[6][14]
2001IPC General Assembly suspended athletes with an intellectual disability (ID) from the Paralympic Games due to 69% of athletes who won medals in intellectual disability events at the Sydney Games not have the correct ID verification.[6]
20027–16 March - Salt Lake City Winter Paralympics - 416 athletes from 36 countries;[11] 92 events in 5 sports. Worldwide television coverage was secured by the organizers, and there was high demand for tickets.[10]
2003Sir Philip Craven, IPC President elected as a new IOC member at the 115th IOC Session in Prague, Czechoslovakia.[7][14]
2003IPC Governing Board approved the development of a Universal Classification Code.[14]
2003New logo Spirit in motion' (Agitos) adopted by IPC.[6][14]
2003IPC signs the World Anti-Doping Code and revised its Anti-Doping Code to comply with the World Anti-Doping Code.[7]
200417–28 September - Athens Summer Paralympics - 3808 athletes from 135 countries;[9] 517 events in 19 sports. 5-a-side football added to the program.[9] A cumulated global TV audience of 1.8 billion watch the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.[14] Over 3000 journalists covered the Games.[10]
2004International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWSF) established with the merger of ISMWSF and ISOD.[6]
2005Paralympic Awards are presented for the first time.[14]
200610–19 March - Torino Winter Paralympics - 477 athletes from 39 countries;[11] 58 events in 4 sports. Wheelchair curling made its Games debut.[11] IPC launched ParalympicSport.TV, an online TV channel, during the Games [14] and it attracted nearly 40,000 unique viewers from 105 nations.
2006IPC’s revenue exceeded EUR 5 million for the first time.[14]
2007IPC Classification Code and International Standards approved at IPC General Assembly meeting held in November.[6][14]
20086–17 September - Beijing Summer Paralympics - 3,951 from 146 countries;[9] 472 events in 20 sports. Rowing was added to the program.[9] 3.8 billion throughout the world viewed the Games on television[9] and 3.4 million spectators attended the Games.[10]
2009IPC General Assembly reinstated athletes with an intellectual disability into the Paralympic Games.[6]
2009IPC Position Stand - Background and Scientific Principles of Classification In Paralympic Sport passed by IPC Sports Science Committee, Classification Committee and Governing Board in June.[6][14]
201012–21 March - Vancouver Winter Paralympics - 502 athletes from 44 countries;[11] 64 events in 5 sports. 230,000 ticket sales, a record for the Games.[11]
201229 August - 9 September - London Summer Paralympics - 4,237 athletes from 164 countries ; 503 events in 20 sports. Athletes with an intellectual disability return to the Games by competing in athletics, swimming and table tennis.[9]
2012IPC and IOC signed a new co-operation agreement which increased IOC financial support and guaranteed the Paralympics will be staged in the same city and venues as the Olympics through until Tokyo 2020.[14]
2012IPC’s revenue exceeded EUR 10 million for the first time.[14]
2012IPC launched the Agitos Foundation.[14]
20147–16 March - Sochi Winter Paralympics - 541 athletes from 45 countries;[11] 72 events in 5 sports. 316,200 tickets were sold, the most ever for Paralympic Winter Games. Para-snowboard added to the program.[11] 316,200 ticket sales, surpassing the record from Vancouver Games.[11]
20167–18 September - Rio de Janeiro Summer Paralympics. The first games in Latin America, Paracanoe and paratriathlon added to the program.


The IPC publishes The Paralympian three times a year.[15]


The London 2012 Paralympics and other sport events related to the Paralympic Movement can be watched on the Internet TV channel for Paralympic Sports created by the IPC.[16]

Paralympic Hall of Fame

Paralympic marketing

The Organizing Committees

In June 2001, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) signed an agreement that would ensure that the staging of the Paralympic Games is automatically included in the bid for the Olympic Games.[17] The agreement came into effect at the 2008 Paralympic Summer Games in Beijing, and the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

However, the Salt Lake 2002 Organizing Committee (SLOC), chose to follow the practice of "one bid, one city" already at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, with one Organizing Committee for both Games, which was followed up by the 2004 Games in Athens and Torino in 2006.

The agreement was adjusted in 2003. An extension was signed in June 2006.[17] A further extension was signed in 2012, valid until 2020.

National Paralympic Committees (NPCs)

The NPCs receive financial support for the training and development of Paralympic teams, Paralympic athletes and Paralympic hopefuls.

International Paralympic Sports Federations (IFs)

There are 11 international federations recognized by the IPC, and there are four disability specific organizations, while the IPC itself serves as the international federation for 9 sports.[18][19]

IPC Alpine Skiing (IPC AS)

Supervises and co-ordinates the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships and other competitions

IPC Athletics (IPC AT)

Supervises and co-ordinates the IPC Athletics World Championships, to be renamed the "World ParaAthletics Championships" beginning with the event's next edition in 2017, and other competitions

IPC Ice Sledge Hockey (IPC ISH)

Supervises and co-ordinates the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships and other competitions

IPC Nordic Skiing (IPC NS)

Supervises and co-ordinates the IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Championships and other competitions

IPC Powerlifting (IPC PO)

Supervises and co-ordinates the IPC Powerlifting World Championships and other competitions

IPC Shooting (IPC SH)

Supervises and co-ordinates the IPC Shooting World Championships and other competitions

IPC Swimming (IPC SW)

Supervises and co-ordinates the IPC Swimming World Championships and other competitions

IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport (IPC WDS)

Supervises and co-ordinates the IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport World Championships and other competitions

See also


  1. "Robert Steadward, builder", Canadian Paralympic Committee
  2. Sir Philip CRAVEN, MBE, official website of the Olympic Movement
  3. 1 2
  4. "Honorary Board". IPC.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Vanlandewijck, Yves (2011). The Paralympic Athlete : Handbook of Sports Medicine and Science. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 3–30.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 DePauw, Karen; et al. (2005). Disability sport (2nd ed.). Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics. pp. 277–287.
  7. 1 2 3 "Paralympics - History of the movement". International Paralympic Committee website. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 "Summer Games Overview". International Paralympic Committee website. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Ottoblock. [. "History of the Paralympic Games"] Check |url= value (help) (PDF). Channel 4 website. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 "Winter Games Overview". International Paralympic Committee website. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  11. 1 2 3 "The History of the Paralympic Movement". Inside the Games website. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  12. "About Us". International Paralympic Committee website. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 "25-year anniversary of the IPC". International Paralympic Committee website. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  14. The Paralympian, International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
  16. 1 2 IPC-IOC Co-operation, The official website of the International Paralympic Committee
  17. International Sports Federations, International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
  18. Contacts - International Sports Federations (IFs), International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
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