The 13th Paralympic Summer Games, held in Beijing, China, in 2008, were a spectacle unparalleled in the history of Para-sport. The Games provided competition for 3,951 athletes from 146 countries, including six nations for the first time. This was the largest ever number of nations represented at the Paralympics.
There were 20 sports, and with the exception of Para-rowing, which made its debut in Beijing, all had featured on the Paralympic program previously.
The Games attracted the largest crowds to date in Paralympic history, with almost 3.5 million people in attendance. More than half paid for the privilege, while over 1.6 million tickets were given to children and education and community groups.
The 2008 Australian Paralympic Team was supported by a large medical contingent of 23 practitioners including doctors, physiotherapists, soft tissue therapists, a nurse, psychologist, dietician and recovery specialist.
Australia was also the only competing nation with a dedicated recovery centre in the Paralympic Village. In the recovery centre, athletes were provided with contrast showers, cold showers, compression, stretching/active sessions and massage.
Recovery practices like these were standard by top-tier nations at the 2012 Paralympic Summer Games in London, England, but Australia led the way in this capacity in Beijing.
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