1988 - Seoul

The Paralympic Games and the Olympic Games finally unite in one venue

Perhaps the greatest breakthrough for the Paralympic movement came in Seoul as for the first time in the history of the Paralympic Games, the Seoul 1988 Games saw Paralympic participants use the same venue and facilities used by participants of the Olympic Games.

The 1988 Paralympics was therefore the largest and most well-facilitated Games the event had witnessed.  The Seoul Paralympic Games gave Paralympic athletes the opportunity to compete in modern, world class facilities previously reserved for the Olympic Games.

Although the Seoul Paralympic Organizing Committee (SPOC) had only a tangential relationship with the Seoul Olympic Organizing Committee (SLOOC), the relationship was substantial enough to recruit and train many of the sports and technical officials for the Paralympic Games as well.

The Paralympic village was just 4 kilometres from the Olympic stadium and athletes, coaches, trainers and team supporters were housed in a purpose-built village.  Although there was much disappointment that around 156 events for athletes with serious disabilities could not take place due to lack of participants, it was a sign that the Paralympic Games would gain credibility as elite athletic standards were implemented.

The Opening Ceremony was held at the Olympic stadium for the first time before a crowd of 75,000 and the new Paralympic flag was presented to the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) President, Dr. Jens Bromann.

The 1988 Games showed a marked rise in athletic performance, with many multiple gold medal winners in various sports and events.  One of the most dominant athletes at the Games was Trischa Zorn of the USA.  Zorn was a visually impaired swimmer in class B2 and won a total of 12 gold medals, including 10 individual titles and two relays. Zorn also set an unbelivable nine world records in the process.

The Closing Ceremony took place on 24th October to loud cheers from the capacity crowd.  The Seoul 1988 Paralympics were perhaps the most revolutionary Paralympics of all time as they were the first Games where Paralympics were truly considered an equal of the Olympic Games.  From Seoul 1988 onwards, the Paralympics has been hosted in the same venue as the Olympics.

Date Games were held: October 15-24

Number of nations represented: 61

Number of competitors: 3,053

Number of medals awarded: 2,173
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