Paris 2024 Paralympic Torch Relay To Start in Great Britain

The Paris 2024 Paralympics will be commemorated by a special torch relay to honor the first time France has hosted a Summer Para Games. 

Though the relay will not start until August 25, the unique split route recognizing the milestone for French Para athletes has already been released.

Instead of starting the relay in Greece like the Olympic relay, the Paralympic relay begins in Great Britain. Every year the flame originates in Stoke Mandeville as a nod to the recognized historic birthplace of the modern Paralympics. 

The first Paralympic Games started at a Stoke Mandeville World War II veteran hospital in 1948. Dr. Ludwig Guttmann, a German neurologist, was looking for ways to help his spinal injury patients rehabilitate their strength and “give them back their dignity and make them happy and respected citizens” (“The significance of sport in the rehabilitation of the mind” (1956) cited by Paris 2024). He started by having wheelchair-using patients compete in an archery competition. 

Stoke Mandeville also hosted the first international competition in 1952, and additional competitions until Rome 1960. The Games were originally called the “International Stoke Mandeville Games” until the IOC approved the name “Paralympic Games” in 1984. 

Even though this year’s relay will start in Stoke Mandeville like it traditionally does, the singular torch will split into twelve flames around the countryside of France before concluding in Paris. The different relays will symbolize the twelve days of the first Summer Paralympics held in France. Each route will highlight French Paralympic and Sports Committee (CPSF) identified cities that commit to increasing Para athlete opportunities and support through the four-day relay. 

The 2024 Paralympic Games will run from August 28 to September 8.

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