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1972 Summer Paralympics

IV Paralympic Games
German stamp: XXI. Weltspiele der Gelähmten Heidelberg 1972 (The image and color on the stamp is identical to the 1972 emblem)
Host city Heidelberg, West Germany
Nations participating 41
Athletes participating 1004
Events 187 in 10 sports
Opening ceremony August 2
Closing ceremony August 11
Officially opened by President Gustav Heinemann
Paralympic Stadium Thingspiele
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The 1972 Summer Paralympics (German: Paralympische Sommerspiele 1972), the fourth edition of the Paralympic Games, were held in Heidelberg, West Germany, from August 2 to 11, 1972.


  • Sports 1
  • Medal table 2
  • Participating delegations 3
  • References 4


As with previous Paralympics, the 1972 games were intended for wheelchair athletes only. However, demonstration events such as goalball and a 100 m sprint for the visually impaired allowed visually impaired competitors to participate for the first time.[1]

Medal table

The top ten listed NOCs by number of gold medals are listed below. The host nation, West Germany, is highlighted.

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 West Germany 28 17 22 67
2 United States 17 27 30 74
3 Great Britain 16 15 21 52
4 South Africa 16 12 13 41
5 Netherlands 14 13 11 38
6 Poland 14 12 7 33
7 France 10 8 15 33
8 Israel 9 10 9 28
9 Italy 8 4 5 17
10 Jamaica 8 3 4 15

Participating delegations

Forty-two delegations took part in the Heidelberg Paralympics.[2]

South Africa was competing at the Paralympics for the third time. Although banned from the Olympic Games due to its policy of apartheid, it was not banned from the Paralympics until 1980, and West Germany, as host country, did not object to its participation.[3][4]

Rhodesia competed for the last time. Its invitation to take part in the 1972 Summer Olympics was withdrawn by the International Olympic Committee four days before the opening ceremony, in response to African countries' protests against the Rhodesian government. But as the Paralympics that year were held before the Olympics (and independently from them), Rhodesia was able to take part in the 1972 Paralympic Games.[5][6]


  1. ^ "Heidelberg 1972".  
  2. ^ "Medal Standings - Heidelberg 1972 Paralympic Games".  
  3. ^ "'The Netherlands against Apartheid' - 1970s", International Institute of Social History
  4. ^ South Africa at the Paralympics, International Paralympic Committee
  5. ^ "1972: Rhodesia out of Olympics", BBC
  6. ^ "Rhodesia expelled", Montreal Gazette, August 23, 1972
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