1984, New York City and Stoke Mandeville


The 1984 Summer Paralympic Games was, in fact, two separate events held in two different cities on two different continents. American sport disability organisations offered to run the Paralympics, but on the condition that the Games were only for athletes with spinal cord injuries. The University of Illinois was named host of the VII World Wheelchair Games. Problems with finances, conflicts and disputes caused the University of Illinois to terminate their contract only four months before the Games were due to start. Stoke Mandeville stepped into the breach and hosted the VII World Wheelchair Games. Separate Games were held for athletes with other disabilities – amputees, cerebral palsy, les autres and vision impaired – in Nassau County, New York. These Games were named the International Games for the Disabled.


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Peter Trotter, one of Australia’s gold medallists at Stoke Mandeville, was also involved in the first demonstration of wheelchair racing which took place at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984. Australia’s Dr John Grant acknowledged the significance of the event: “Peter Trotter in gaining a place in the Los Angeles track event, an event of great historical note, must be recorded and will certainly have earned him a place in the history of Australian sport. Our congratulations to him.”


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