By Gary Anderson

The legacy and impact of hosting Paralympic Games was the main topic at a special gathering at IPC headquarters in Bonn ©IPCThe impact and legacy of Paralympic Games was the main focus of a specially convened forum held in Bonn and organised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in cooperation with the University of British Columbia Centre for Sport and Sustainability.

Representatives from academia, Government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and past and future Paralympic Games Organising Committees discussed legacies from previous events and lessons learned from how they made those legacy assessments and what legacies occurred.

The IPC's head of knowledge management Apostolos Rigas was one of the key presenters at the two-day gathering at the organisation's headquarters along with the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) research and reference manager Jocelin Sebastiani.

They were joined by a number of leading professionals from the world of academia, who also presented to delegates, including Moscow State University's Maria Goryachko, the University of British Columbia's Robert Sparks, Tracy Dickson from the University of Canberra and Loughborough University's David Howe.

In addition, officials from upcoming Paralympic Games laid out their aspirations and future plans aimed at ensuring a lasting legacy including Pyeongchang 2018's director general of Games planning and coordination, Byungnam Lee and Tokyo 2020's director of Paralympic Games planning Shinji Nakame.

"Through creating a forum to exchange ideas on Paralympic legacies and methods of analysing them, the IPC can review, enrich and validate the impact and legacy fields affected by hosting a Paralympic Games," said Rigas.

"This will in turn allow us to strengthen our strategies and work to improve potential legacies of future Games."

Following Sochi 2014 Pyeongchang will now be tasked with staging and creating a legacy from the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games ©Sochi 2014Following Sochi 2014, Pyeongchang will now be tasked with staging and creating a legacy from the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games ©Sochi 2014

The IPC claimed that its goal is to create an ever-expanding international academic community supporting and measuring Paralympic legacies and research projects, and the forum in Bonn is part of that process.

In addition to exploring the importance of using sport and hosting Games to help initiate positive social change, delegates also discussed the evolution of media coverage and how to mobilise digital methods to further the profile and impact of Paralympic sport.

At Sochi 2014, representatives from Rio 2016, Pyeongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 were among more than 170 delegates who travelled to Russia on the IPC Observers Programme.

Representatives from the five bid cities for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics also made the trip which included a visit to all venues and a number of workshops and roundtable discussions on staging the Games.