Australia took a team of 58 athletes to the VII World Wheelchair Games, in Stoke Mandeville, and a team of 66 to the International Games for the Disabled, in New York. Of the Australian athletes competing in New York, 40 were amputee athletes, 21 had vision impairment, 4 were athletes with cerebral palsy, and one athlete competed in the les autres category. As had occurred since 1976, the disconnection between the disability groups still continued. While all athletes had the same uniform, the different disability groups travelled separately to New York, stayed in different accommodation, and rarely had the opportunity to socialise or watch Australian athletes outside their disability groups.
At the Stoke Mandeville Games, Australia’s shooters set a very high standard. Libby Kosmala won four gold medals, creating world records on each occasion, and Barbara Caspers matched her effort, with four gold medals of her own. Dual gold medalists included Alan Dufty on the track, and Roy Fowler in the singles and doubles lawn bowls. At the New York Games, Australian swimmers proved very successful with Helena Brunner winning five gold medals, Gary Gudgeon four gold medals, Greg Hammond three gold medals, and Rosemary Eames two gold medals. Across both the New York and Stoke Mandeville Games, Australia had the most successful Paralympic since Tel Aviv in 1968. The combined team won 49 gold medals, 54 silver medals and 51 bronze medals to finish 8th on the medal table.