57 years after celebrating the Paralympic Games in 1964, Tokyo repeats as the venue for the largest international sports tournament for people with disabilities to amplify the flame of a movement that has not stopped growing since then, especially the past two decades.
On August 24, Tokyo will have a very prominent place in the history of the Paralympic movement because so far no other city has hosted twice, this time, very especially due to the global context drawn from the coronavirus pandemic. .
The 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games lasted just five days (November 8-12), two weeks after the curtain fell on the Olympics.
This was the second Paralympic Games after those held in Rome (1960), although it was officially called the 13th Stoke Mandeville International Games, setting the historic counter start in 1948 in the British city.
In those games, the end of the Paralympics was first formulated, though recounted only by the Organizing Committee, which was able to promote the development of sports for people with disabilities for the citizens of all Japan, giving a view of a very limited set of rights, although There was criticism from those who described the event as discriminatory, claiming that they took advantage of the participants.
The program consists of nine sports (shooting, track and field, darts, billiards, swimming, table tennis, weightlifting, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair fencing) at six venues.
The opening ceremony was held in the morning and attended by about a hundred primary and secondary students from a school in Tokyo marched, in yellow uniforms, to the rhythm of the marching troupe of the so-called Japan Defense Force (JGSDF).
On the concert stage, Oda Field in central Tokyo, 378 athletes from 21 countries participated in the games. Only Spanish-speaking Argentina attended.
The United States topped the medal table with 123 medals, followed by the United Kingdom with 61, and Italy with 45 medals.
53 Japanese athletes wore burgundy training jerseys during their show, which was developed with the popular song “Sukiyaki”, which the previous year, in 1963, reached the top of the American Billboard.
Shigeo Ono, a Japanese wheelchair fencer, who launched 500 pigeons to celebrate the sporting event, swore to the disabled movement.
About 4,000 spectators gathered to watch the ceremony, including games founder Sir Ludwig Guttmann and Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko, who would rule between 1989 and 2019 and are currently honorary emperors.
The games were well received by the general public, with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) participating 100,000 people in various sports and media coverage with 700 reporters from all over the country covering the event.
The term “Paralympic” which came into use in 1964 was not officially recognized until 1989 with the union of the words “Paralympic” and “Paralympic”, and they have coexisted since then with the Olympic Games.
The 1964 Tokyo Games included only athletes whose mobility disability was affected by a spinal injury. This situation continued until 1976, when the scope was expanded in Montreal (Canada) to include amputees and people with visual impairments.
57 years later, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, despite being held in 2021 due to a postponement decided after the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, keeps the flame of an unstoppable movement and represents the 1.2 billion people with some disability overall. Globalism.
During the twelve days of competition at the Tokyo Games, 539 medal events – 272 for men, 227 for women and 40 mixed – will be played among the 22 sports that are part of the competition programme, spread across 21 venues.
For the Japanese event, 4,400 athletes (2318 men, 1,782 women, 300 mixed venues) with physical, intellectual, visual or brain disabilities from 160 countries attended the event. Many of them, despite their dependence on government scholarships, country-specific assistance schemes or private sponsorship, can only live off the sport for a few years, which means the professionalization is taking place gradually.
Another major change is the public, which is now more global than ever. According to IPC estimates, 4.250 million viewers will attend the games at some point in the twelve days, surpassing the figure set at 4,100 in Rio.
Japanese radio station NHK set a record for coverage by a host broadcaster with a forecast of 540 hours. However, this number is far from the more than 1,200 hours that NBC (US) will present on all platforms, such as Channel 7 in Australia and CBC in Canada.
Además, por primera vez en la historia, los Juegos Paralímpicos de Tokio se podrán seguir de forma gratuita en 49 territorios del África subsahariana como parte de un proyecto del IPC dedicado a “visibilizar el deporte de porte de personas con y de capacidas en y discapac the scientist”.
“Lifelong travel trailblazer. Food nerd. Award-winning music enthusiast. Twitter guru.”