1984 Summer Paralympics

The 1984 International Games for the Disabled, canonically the 1984 Summer Paralympics were the seventh Paralympic Games to be held. There were in two separate competitions: one in Stoke Mandeville, United Kingdom for wheelchair athletes with spinal cord injuries and the other at the Mitchel Athletic Complex and Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, United States of America for wheelchair and ambulatory athletes with cerebral palsy, amputees, and les autres [the others] (conditions as well as blind and visually impaired athletes). Stoke Mandeville had been the location of the Stoke Mandeville Games from 1948 onwards, seen as the precursors to the Paralympic Games.[1] As with the 1984 Summer Olympics, the Soviet Union and other communist countries except China, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Yugoslavia boycotted the Paralympic Games.[2] The Soviet Union did not participate in the Paralympics at the time, arguing that they have no disabled people in the country. The USSR made its Paralympic debut in 1988, during Perestroika.[3]

VII Paralympic Games
Host cityNew York, United States
Stoke Mandeville, United Kingdom
Nations45 (USA)
41 (GBR)
Athletes1,800 (USA)
1,100 (GBR)
Events~300 in 15 sports (USA)
603 in 10 sports (GBR)
Opening17 June (USA)
22 July (GBR)
Closing30 June (USA)
1 August (GBR)
Opened by
StadiumMitchel Athletic Complex (USA)
Stoke Mandeville Stadium (GBR)


In the opening ceremonies, patchy showers greeted the 14000 spectators packed into the Mitchel Park stadium for the 2pm start of the New York Games opening ceremony on 19 June.[4] New York radio personality William B. Williams introduced everyone with a welcome speech.[4] Entertainers such as Bill Buzzeo and the Dixie Ramblers, Richie Havens, The New Image Drum and Bugle Corps, the ARC Gospel Chorus and the Square Dance Extravaganza followed the introduction speech.[4] At the closing ceremonies, Commander Archie Cameron, President of ICC officially closed the games with a short speech acknowledging the athletes and the next host city, Seoul, South Korea. The flag of the games were then lowered and American athletes carried the flags back to the reviewing stand where they were handed over the President of the Organizing Committee, Dr William T. Callahan.[4]


Dan D. Lion
Mascot of the 1984 Summer Paralympics (New York)
CreatorMaryanne McGrath Higgins
SignificanceA lion

The mascot for the 1984 Paralympic Games was Dan D. Lion, which was designed by an art teacher Maryanne McGrath Higgins.[5]


Competitors were divided into five disability-specific categories: amputee, cerebral palsy, visually impaired, wheelchair, and les autres (athletes with physical disabilities that had not been eligible to compete in previous Games). The wheelchair category was for those competitors who used a wheelchair due to a spinal cord disability. However some athletes in the amputee and cerebral palsy categories also competed in wheelchairs. Within the sport of athletics, a wheelchair marathon event was held for the first time. The trials for the two wheelchair events to be held at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games was held in conjunction with the New York Games. However, despite the long and established history of using "paralympic" terminology, in the United States the US Olympic Committee prohibited the Games organizers from using the term. The seventeen contested sports are listed below, along with the disability categories which competed in each.[6]

Medal table

The host nations, Great Britain and the United States, are highlighted. Bahrain, China, Jordan, Luxembourg, Trinidad and Tobago won their first ever medals.

1 United States*137131129397
2 Great Britain*107112112331
3 Canada878269238
4 Sweden834334160
5 West Germany797675230
6 France716945185
7 Netherlands555228135
8 Australia495451154
9 Poland463921106
10 Denmark30131659
11 Norway29313090
12 Belgium22221458
13 Spain22101244
14 Ireland20153166
15 Finland18142658
16 Switzerland18131243
17 Austria14201044
18 Hungary1212327
19 Israel11211244
20 Yugoslavia1191131
21 Italy9191442
22 Japan97824
23 New Zealand810725
24 Brazil717428
25 Mexico6141737
26 Portugal43714
27 Hong Kong35917
28 China212822
29 Trinidad and Tobago2013
30 Luxembourg1416
31 Kuwait1348
32 Burma1214
33 Egypt1157
34 Kenya1113
35 East Germany0314
36 Iceland02810
37 India0224
 South Korea0224
39 Jordan0123
41 Bahamas0112
43 Bahrain0022
Totals (43 nations)9769498492774

Participating delegations

Fifty-four delegations took part in the 1984 Paralympics. Bahrain, China, East Germany, Faroe Islands, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela made their first appearances, India and Portugal returned to the Games after a 12-year absence.[7]

Reception at the host cities

Odeda Rosenthal, a professor of humanities at a local community college on Long Island and translator for the Austrian team highlighted a number of problems at the games in a series of articles.[4] She highlighted a number of issues such as poor communication, administrative hiccups and even bus drivers not knowing the routes to scheduled events that even caused some teams to miss events completely.[4] Rosenthal continues by slamming the work by the Police Chief claiming the Chief "took the opposite tack of anything that was suggested to sort out the mess".[4] However, overall reports and the general impression given off by the games was a friendly atmosphere and volunteers trying their hardest under difficult conditions.[4]

See also


  1. "2012 – The Paralympics come home", BBC, 4 July 2008
  2. Bailey, Steve (2008). Athlete First: A history of the paralympic movement. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 35–26. ISBN 9780470058244.
  3. Phillips, Sarah D. (2009). "'There Are No Invalids in the USSR!': A Missing Soviet Chapter in the New Disability History". Disability Studies Quarterly. Ohio State University Libraries; Society for Disability Studies. 29 (3). Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  4. Brittain, Ian (2012). From Stoke Mandeville to Stratford: A history of the Summer Paralympic Games. Illinois: Common Ground Publishing.
  5. "New York 1984 Paralympic Mascot Dan D. Lion – Photos & History". www.paralympic.org. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  6. "Stoke Mandeville & New York 1984". International Paralympic Committee. 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
  7. "Medal Standings – New York / Stoke Mandevile 1984 Paralympic Games". International Paralympic Committee. 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2008.