|...........................||1996 Paralympics in Atlanta USA|
Women's Final Standings
Women's compiled individual statistics
With each Paralympics, the levels of participation and performance have increased tremendously, and so it was with the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta. For the first time, athletes with an intellectual disability took part, along with athletes with spinal cord disabilities, cerebral palsy, amputations, les autres and visual impairments. In all, about 4,500 people attended, including athletes and delegation members. There were about 8,000 rooms for accommodation and 12,000 volunteers were recruited to help with the massive operations.
The Atlanta Paralympic Organizing Committee (APOC), together with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), developed a system to ensure more dynamic growth and improvement within each sport event. This system was based on three key components of quality, quantity and universality. Essentially, the system aimed for the highest level of competition with a maximum number of events. Also, a mechanism was devised to include delegations that otherwise might not have been able to participate.
The Atlanta Paralympic Games were attended by 3,195 athletes (2,415 male and 780 female) and 1,717 delegation staff from 103 countries. There were 20 sports spread across 508 events at the Games from 16 to 25 August. Of these, 17 were full medal sports and three were demonstration events—Racquetball, Sailing and Wheelchair Rugby. For the first time, 56 athletes with an intellectual disability took part in Athletics and Swimming.
Many outstanding performances were delivered, among them, in Athletics and Swimming. Australia’s Louise Sauvage dominated the women’s wheelchair racing events, taking the gold in the 400m, 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m. In Swimming, Kasper Engel from the Netherlands set a world record in the men’s 100m breaststroke in the class SB5 in a time of 1:31.50. Beatrice Hess from France won the gold medal in the women’s 200m individual medley (class SM5) in a world and Paralympic record time of 3:35.94. In all, 269 new world records were set at the Paralympics. The United States topped the medal table with 157 medals, of which 46 were gold. Next came Australia with 42 gold medals, and Germany with 40 gold medals.
Attendance was high throughout the Games. A total of 388,373 spectators were recorded across all the sporting events. For the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, figures of 66,257 and 57,640 were noted respectively. A total of 2,088 media representatives were accredited. This total included 721 from the written press, 806 from the electronic media, and 114 photographers.
The 1996 Atlanta Paralympics were also the first to attract worldwide corporate sponsorship. But the Games were more than an international sporting event. The third Paralympic Congress, held four days before the competitions, focused on the theme of political and economic empowerment of people with disabilities as well as global issues in elite sport. The Congress, from 12 to 16 August, brought together leaders of the disability civil rights community, the disabled sports movement and their able-bodied counterparts.
The Games also showcased a Cultural Pyramid, featuring the works of artists with disabilities across many creative disciplines. The Cultural Pyramid was initiated to widen the appeal and impact of the Games and to draw parallels between excellence in sport and in the arts.