Published date: 7 September 2012

Today, the Paralympics is a showcase of professional, top-level athletic achievement. Like the able-bodied Olympics, disabled athletes train for years in order to represent their country in a range of sports. But how did this sporting competition come about? Through documents and images, this talk charts the history of the Paralympic Games and tells the story of how a few disabled veterans in wheelchairs playing polo in a hospital gym in Aylesbury gave rise to the exciting highly competitive sports competition that exists today.

Dr Julie Anderson is a historian at the University of Kent in Canterbury who specialises in the history of disability. She has published a number of articles and books on the history of disabled people in Britain. Her book War, Disability and Rehabilitation in Britain: Soul of a Nation (Manchester University Press, 2011) explores the role of sport in the lives of disabled veterans in the Second World War.

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