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2004 Summer Paralympics

XII Paralympic Games
Host city Athens, Greece
Motto Great Athletes. Great Performances. (Greek: Μεγάλους αθλητές. Μεγάλες Παραστάσεις.)
Nations participating 136
Athletes participating 3,806
Events 519 in 19 sports
Opening ceremony September 17
Closing ceremony September 28
Officially opened by President Costis Stephanopoulos
Paralympic Torch Georgios Toptsis
Paralympic Stadium Athens Olympic Stadium
Sydney 2000 Beijing 2008  >
Salt Lake City 2002 Turin 2006  >
Proteas: The official 2004 Summer Paralympics mascot

The 2004 Summer Paralympics (Greek: Θερινοί Παραολυμπιακοί Αγώνες 2004) were held in Athens, Greece, from September 17 to September 28. The twelfth Paralympic Games, an estimated 4,000 athletes took part in the Athens programme, with ages ranging from 11 to 66. Paralympic events had already taken place during the 2004 Summer Olympics as demonstration sports – women's 800 m and men's 1500 m wheelchair races. These races were open to able-bodied people and were without disability classification – as such, they did not form part of the official Paralympic programme. See Wheelchair racing at the 2004 Summer Olympics for more details.

Athletes with learning difficulties were excluded from the games due to the difficulties in testing for and classifying these disabilities. The exclusion was introduced after the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney, the first games with events exclusively for people with learning difficulties (and the second with such athletes), after it was found that the majority of the Spanish basketball team were not disabled. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) stated that the exclusion would continue until there are sufficient tests for the disabilities and a way to measure the effect they have on a sport. Exhibition matches for these categories were featured in the Games in basketball and table tennis, and the Special Olympics remains the major sporting event specifically designed for athletes with learning difficulties.


  • Medal count 1
  • Opening ceremony 2
  • Closing ceremony 3
  • Media coverage controversy 4
  • Sports featured in the 2004 Summer Paralympics 5
  • Participating nations 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Medal count

A total of 1567 medals were awarded during the Athens games: 519 gold, 516 silver, and 532 bronze. China topped the medal count with more gold medals, more silver medals, and more medals overall than any other nation. In the table below, the ranking sorts by the number of gold medals earned by a nation (in this context a nation is an entity represented by a National Paralympic Committee).

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  China 63 46 32 141
2  Great Britain 35 30 29 94
3  Canada 28 19 25 72
4  United States 27 22 39 88
5  Australia 26 38 36 100
6  Ukraine 24 12 19 55
7  Spain 20 27 24 71
8  Germany 19 28 31 78
9  France 18 26 30 74
10  Japan 17 16 20 53

Among the top individual medal winners was Mayumi Narita of Japan, who took seven golds and one bronze medal in swimming, setting six world records in the process and bringing her overall Paralympic gold medal total to fifteen. Chantal Petitclerc of Canada won five golds and set three world records in wheelchair racing, while Swedish shooter Jonas Jacobsson took four gold medals.[1] France's Béatrice Hess won her nineteenth and twentieth Paralympic gold medals in swimming. Swimmer Trischa Zorn of the United States won just one medal, a bronze, but it was her 55th ever Paralympic medal. She retained her position as the most successful Paralympian of all times.[2]

Opening ceremony

From the Paralympics opening ceremony

The opening ceremony for the 2004 Summer Paralympics took place on September 17, 2004. The show started with children passing on knowledge and raising their lights to the sky. This was a reference to Georgios Toptsis.

Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony for the 2004 Summer Paralympics took place on September 28, 2004. The traditional cultural display was removed from the ceremony as a mark of respect for the deaths of seven teenagers from Farkadona, travelling to Athens, whose bus collided with a truck near the town of Kamena Vourla.[3][4]

"The (official statement)[4]

Flags were flown at half mast and a minute's silence was observed. In contrast with the formal nature of the opening ceremony, the athletes entered the stadium for the final time as a collective. The flag of the IPC was then officially handed over to the 2008 hosts, Beijing. An artistic presentation to acknowledge Beijing as the next host was still shown, which also unveiled the IPC's new logo. A procession of young people then made their way to join the athletes in the centre of the stadium carrying paper lanterns, before the Paralympic flame was extinguished, the final moment of the Paralympic Games.[5]

Media coverage controversy

Although the Paralympic Games were broadcast to around 1.6 billion viewers throughout 49 countries,[6] some controversy was caused when no American television network stayed to broadcast the event.[7] This resulted in some US viewers having to wait almost 2 months until the coverage was broadcast, compared with live feeds in the UK and other countries.[8]

Sports featured in the 2004 Summer Paralympics

The Swedish men's goalball team at the 2004 Paralympic Games; the team won a silver medal

The 2004 Summer Paralympics included 19 sports. New events featured in the Games were five-a-side blind football, women's sitting volleyball, and quads wheelchair tennis.

Results for individual events can be found on the relevant page.

Participating nations

Athletes from 135 nations competed in the Athens Paralympics.[9]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Times Square Honors Athletes", International Paralympic Committee, January 5, 2005
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ "Games finale cut after bus deaths", BBC News Online, 2004-09-27
  6. ^ "International Paralympic Committee Annual report 2004", IPC
  7. ^ "Athens advance Paralympics", BBC News Online, 2004-09-24
  8. ^ "US TV Coverage of the Paralympics – starts November ...",, 2004-09-20
  9. ^

External links

  • 25 things you never knew about the Paralympics (BBC website). Also links to information about 20 athletes from Team GB.
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