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1976 Summer Paralympics

V Paralympic Games
Host city Toronto, Canada
Nations participating 32
Athletes participating 1,657
(1,404 men, 253 women)
Events 447 in 13 sports
Opening ceremony August 3
Closing ceremony August 11
Officially opened by Kevin Cheuk
Paralympic Stadium Woodbine Racetrack
Centennial Park Stadium
Heidelberg 1972 Arnhem 1980  >
Örnsköldsvik 1976 Geilo 1980  >

The 1976 Summer Paralympics (branded as Torontolympiad - 1976 Olympiad for the Physically Disabled) (French: Les Ve Paralympiques d'été) were the fifth Paralympic Games to be held. They were held in Toronto, in the province of Ontario, Canada from August 3 to 11, 1976.

This marked the first time that Canada hosted the Summer Paralympics, which has now been followed by Canada's first Winter Paralympics, the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver. The 1976 Summer Olympics were also hosted by Canada, in Montreal.


  • Context 1
  • Venues 2
  • Media Coverage 3
  • Sports 4
  • Medal table 5
  • Participating delegations 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8


This was also the first time global politics interfered with the Paralympic Games. "The problem stemmed from the logic that admitting a team from South Africa was to give implicit approval for its government's attitude towards segregation and racism." Although the South African team at the time was a multi-racial one, the Canadian government withdrew its half million dollar contribution and "matching amounts of funds were likely to be pulled out by the metropolitan government".[1]

Two groups, both with the same President - Ludwig Guttmann - were involved in the decision-making: the International Sports Organisation for the Disabled and the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation. Guttman and Bob Jackson, (Chairman of the Organising Committee) worked to convince the governments to honour their promises of support and were largely successful. Nevertheless, a number of teams withdrew, following on from the Montreal boycott by 25 countries, and were threatened with exclusion from future events. Later, efforts were made to develop a joint policy with the International Olympic Committee.[1]

Rhodesia was not allowed to participate as the Canadian government refused to grant visas for the Rhodesian Paralympic team to attend the competition.[2]


The opening of the 1976 games were held at Woodbine Race Track in north Etobicoke.

There was no athletes village, so the athletes were housed at York University (Keele campus), University of Toronto (Erindale?) and the CNIB (national headquarters in Toronto). Closing ceremonies and outdoor events (mainly track and field) took place at Centennial Park Stadium. Centennial Gymnasium and Centennial Park's Olympic Pool (Etobicoke Olympium) were the other venues (for indoor and swimming events respectively).

Media Coverage

The 1976 Games was the first time that there was television coverage of the Paralympic events. The performances were shown to a wide audience of viewers from the Southern Ontario region. [3]


At the 1976 games, amputees and visually impaired athletes competed for the first time; previous editions of the Paralympic Games had included only wheelchair athletes. Within the sport of athletics, new wheelchair racing distances of 200 m, 400 m, 800 m and 1500 m were added. Shooting and goalball, both previously demonstration events, were included as official medal sports.[4]

Medal table

The top 10 NPCs by number of gold medals are listed below. The host nation, Canada, is highlighted.

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States 66 44 44 154
2 Netherlands 45 25 14 84
3 Israel 40 13 16 69
4 West Germany 37 34 26 97
5 Great Britain 29 29 36 94
6 Canada 25 26 26 77
7 Poland 24 17 12 53
8 France 23 21 14 58
9 Sweden 22 27 24 73
10 Austria 17 16 17 50

Participating delegations

Forty delegations took part in the Toronto Paralympics.[5]

South Africa was competing at the Paralympics for the fourth time. Although banned from the Olympic Games due to its policy of apartheid, it was not banned from the Paralympics until 1980, and Canada, as host country, did not object to its participation. These were, however, to be its last Paralympics before the dismantling of apartheid; The Netherlands, as hosts of the 1980 Games, declared South Africa's further participation "undesirable".[6][7]

See also


  1. ^ a b Bailey, Steve (2008). Athlete First: A history of the paralympic movement. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 35–36.  
  2. ^ Little, Cliff (2008). "The Paralympic Protest Paradox: The Politics of Rhodesian Participation in the Paralympic Games, 1960–1980" (Pdf). Pathways: Critiques and Discourse in Olympic Research: 123–131. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Untitled". Toronotolympiad. 4 August 1976. 
  4. ^ "Toronto 1976".  
  5. ^ "Medal Standings - Toronto 1976 Paralympic Games".  
  6. ^ "'The Netherlands against Apartheid' - 1970s", International Institute of Social History
  7. ^ South Africa at the Paralympics, International Paralympic Committee
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