2004, Athens


The 12th Summer Paralympic Games, held in Athens, Greece in 2004, benefited from an integrated organising committee that was responsible for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. All Paralympic sports used the same competitive venues as the Olympic Games and teams were housed in the same athletes’ Village. The venues were even more spectacular than Sydney, although landscaping and ‘non-essential’ work were missing, leaving the venues and Village looking like jewels sitting in construction sites. The entry fee for Paralympians was scrapped for the first time in the history of the Games. There were 19 sports, of which three were new to Paralympic competition: 5-a-side football for the visually impaired, and women’s competitions in sitting volleyball and judo. All traditional disability groups were represented, except for athletes with an intellectual disability, who were banned following the scandal in Sydney in 2000 involving the Spanish basketball team.

Unique/Special Features:

Although the 2004 Paralympic Games were broadcast to 1.6 billion viewers throughout 49 countries, in many cases in live feeds, no American television network broadcast the event until almost 2 months after the Games.

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