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2008 Summer Paralympics

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Background Information

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XIII Paralympic Games

"Sky, Earth, and Human Beings",
emblem of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games
Host city Beijing, China
Motto 同一个世界 同一个梦想
(One World, One Dream)
Nations participating 146
Athletes participating 3,591
Events 472 in 20 sports
Opening ceremony September 6
Closing ceremony September 17
Officially opened by President Hu Jintao
Paralympic Torch Hou Bin
Paralympic Stadium Beijing National Stadium
Athens 2004 London 2012  >
Turin 2006 Vancouver 2010  >
Iran v South Africa in wheelchair basketball at the 2008 Summer Paralympics.

The 2008 Summer Paralympic Games, the thirteenth Paralympics, took place in Beijing, China from September 6 to September 17, 2008. As with the 2008 Summer Olympics, equestrian events were held in Hong Kong and sailing events in Qingdao.

3,951 athletes from 146 countries took part. This was the largest ever number of nations at the Paralympics (ten more than in Athens), and five countries competed for the first time. China fielded more athletes than any other country. The slogan for the 2008 Paralympics was the same as the 2008 Summer Olympics, "One World, One Dream" ( simplified Chinese: 同一个世界 同一个梦想; traditional Chinese: 同一個世界 同一個夢想 Pinyin Tóng yīge shìjìe tóng yīge mèngxiǎng, lit. "One World, One Dream"). China dominated the medal count finishing with 89 gold medals and 211 total medals, more than double the next-ranked NPC in both cases.

339 Paralympic records and 279 world records were broken.

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Philip Craven declared the Games "the greatest Paralympic Games ever."


The Beijing National Stadium

Nineteen competition venues—seventeen in Beijing, one in Hong Kong, and one in Qingdao—were selected for the 2008 Summer Paralympics.

  1. Beijing National Stadium (Birds Nest)
  2. Beijing National Aquatics Centre (Water Cube)
  3. Beijing National Indoor Stadium (Fan)
  4. Fencing Gymnasium of Olympic Green Convention Centre
  5. Olympic Green Archery Field
  6. Olympic Green Hockey Field
  7. Olympic Green Tennis Centre (Flowers)
  8. Peking University Gymnasium
  9. Beihang University Gymnasium
  10. China Agricultural University Gymnasium
  11. Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium
  12. Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
  13. Beijing Shooting Range Hall
  14. Laoshan Mountain Bike Course
  15. Workers Gymnasium
  16. Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park
  17. Triathlon Venue
  18. Hong Kong Equestrian Venues
  19. Qingdao International Sailing Centre



The emblem, "Sky, Earth, and Human Beings" (Chinese: 天、地、人), was a multicolored Chinese character "之" (Chinese: zhī) stylized as an athletic figure in motion. The red, blue, and green in the emblem represent sun, sky, and earth.


The slogan was the same as the 2008 Summer Olympics, "One World, One Dream".


The mascot was a cartoon cow named Fu Niu Lele (Chinese: 福牛乐乐), roughly meaning "Lucky Ox 'Happy'".

Theme song

The theme song was 'Flying with the Dream' Chinese: 和梦一起飞. It was performed by Chinese-Tibetan singer Han Hong and Hong Kong singer and actor Andy Lau.

Torch relay

The torch relay of the 2008 Summer Paralympics started from Tian Tan (Temple of Heaven) on August 28. The flame then gathered before The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿) and followed two routes (the "Route of Ancient China" and the "Route of Modern China"). Both routes returned to Beijing on September 5, and the torch was flamed at the National Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on September 6.

The Games

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony took place on September 6, 2008. The pre-ceremony performance was a succession of various musical performances, ranging from military music to folk music and a performance of Ode to Joy. Following a countdown, a fireworks display signalled the beginning of the ceremony proper. The national flag of China was then raised, in accordance with usual protocol, and the national anthem of China performed. Performers wearing suits in bright colours paraded round the stadium, as a welcoming ceremony preceding the athletes' entry. As with the 2008 Summer Olympics, the ceremony included a parade of nations, with a flag bearer for each national team. Contrary to Olympic tradition, the national team of Greece did not enter first; the host country came last. As Chinese is written in characters and not letters, the order of the teams' entry was determined by the number of strokes in the first character of their respective countries' Simplified Chinese names. Countries with the same number of strokes in the first character are sorted by those of the next character. This made Guinea (几内亚) the first country to enter as it takes two strokes to write the first character in the country's name (几). Following the athletes' parade, a performance took place, divided into chapters and sub-chapters entitled the "Journey of Space" and "Journey of Life" The sunbird performance entailed Yang Haitao (杨海涛), a singer with a visual impairment, singing about dreams while an acrobat in sunbird costume descended in simulated flight from the air and "awakened the blind singer from his sleep". The ceremony concludes with Hou Bin, the high jump gold medalist with one leg lighting the flame cauldron.

Closing ceremony

The 2008 Summer Paralympics closing ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium. It began at 8:00 pm China Standard Time ( UTC+8) on September 17, 2008.


Twenty sports were on the program:

  • Archery - Paralympic pictogram.svg Archery
  • Athletics - Paralympic pictogram.svg Athletics
  • Boccia - Paralympic pictogram.svg Boccia
  • Cycling - Paralympic pictogram.svg Cycling
  • Equestrian - Paralympic pictogram.svg Equestrian
  • Football 5-a-side - Paralympic pictogram.svg Football 5-a-side
  • Football 7-a-side - Paralympic pictogram.svg Football 7-a-side
  • Goalball - Paralympic pictogram.svg Goalball
  • Judo - Paralympic pictogram.svg Judo
  • Powerlifting - Paralympic pictogram.svg Powerlifting
  • Rowing - Paralympic pictogram.svg Rowing
  • Sailing - Paralympic pictogram.svg Sailing
  • Shooting - Paralympic pictogram.svg Shooting
  • Swimming - Paralympic pictogram.svg Swimming
  • Table tennis - Paralympic pictogram.svg Table tennis
  • Volleyball - Paralympic pictogram.svg Volleyball
  • Wheelchair basketball - Paralympic pictogram.svg Wheelchair basketball
  • Wheelchair fencing - Paralympic pictogram.svg Wheelchair fencing
  • Wheelchair rugby - Paralympic pictogram.svg Wheelchair rugby
  • Wheelchair tennis - Paralympic pictogram.svg Wheelchair tennis

Rowing made its first appearance in the Paralympics at these games.


 ●  Opening ceremony     Event competitions  ●  Event finals  ●  Closing ceremony
September 6th
Football (soccer) 5-a-side
Football (soccer) 7-a-side
Table tennis
Wheelchair basketball
Wheelchair fencing
Wheelchair rugby
Wheelchair tennis
September 6th

Participating NPCs

The following National Paralympic Committees sent delegations to compete. Macau and the Faroe Islands are members of the International Paralympic Committee, but not of the International Olympic Committee; hence they participate in the Paralympic Games but not in the Olympics.

Burundi, Gabon, Georgia, Haiti and Montenegro were participating in the Paralympics for the first time.

Botswana was due to take part, but its single athlete, defending Paralympic champion sprinter Tshotlego Morama, withdrew prior to the Games due to injury. The country's last-minute attempt to field other athletes in her place was rejected, as they did not meet the requirement of having participated in international events.

  •   Afghanistan
  •   Algeria
  •   Angola
  •   Argentina
  •   Armenia
  •   Australia
  •   Austria
  •   Azerbaijan
  •   Bahrain
  •   Bangladesh
  •   Barbados
  •   Belarus
  •   Belgium
  •   Benin
  •   Bermuda
  •   Bosnia and Herzegovina
  •   Brazil
  •   Bulgaria
  •   Burkina Faso
  •   Burundi
  •   Cambodia
  •   Canada
  •   Cape Verde
  •   Central African Republic
  •   Chile
  •   China
  •   Colombia
  •   Costa Rica
  •   Côte d'Ivoire
  •   Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gabon
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Great Britain
  • Greece
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  •   Hungary
  •   Iceland
  •   India
  •   Indonesia
  •   Iran
  •   Iraq
  •   Ireland
  •   Israel
  •   Italy
  •   Jamaica
  •   Japan
  •   Jordan
  •   Kazakhstan
  •   Kenya
  •   Kuwait
  •   Kyrgyzstan
  •   Laos
  •   Latvia
  •   Lebanon
  •   Lesotho
  • Libya
  •   Lithuania
  •   Luxembourg
  •   Macau
  •   Macedonia
  •   Madagascar
  •   Malaysia
  •   Mali
  •   Malta
  •   Mauritius
  •   Mexico
  •   Moldova
  •   Mongolia
  •   Montenegro
  •   Morocco
  • Myanmar
  •   Namibia
  •   Nepal
  •   Netherlands
  •   New Zealand
  •   Niger
  •   Nigeria
  •   Norway
  •   Oman
  •   Pakistan
  •   Palestine
  •   Panama
  •   Papua New Guinea
  •   Peru
  •   Philippines
  •   Poland
  •   Portugal
  •   Puerto Rico
  •   Qatar
  •   Romania
  •   Russia
  •   Rwanda
  •   Samoa
  •   Saudi Arabia
  •   Senegal
  •   Serbia
  •   Singapore
  •   Slovakia
  •   Slovenia
  •   South Africa
  •   South Korea
  •   Spain
  •   Sri Lanka
  •   Suriname
  •   Sweden
  •   Switzerland
  •   Syria
  • Chinese Taipei
  •   Tajikistan
  •   Tanzania
  •   Thailand
  •   Timor-Leste
  •   Tonga
  •   Tunisia
  •   Turkey
  •   Turkmenistan
  •   Uganda
  •   Ukraine
  •   United Arab Emirates
  •   United States
  •   Uruguay
  •   Uzbekistan
  •   Vanuatu
  •   Venezuela
  •   Vietnam
  •   Zambia
  •   Zimbabwe

Medal count

The top ten ranked NPCs at these Games are listed below. (Host nation is highlighted.)

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1   China 89 70 52 211
2   Great Britain 42 29 31 102
3   United States 36 35 28 99
4   Ukraine 24 18 32 74
5   Australia 23 29 27 79
6   South Africa 21 3 6 30
7   Canada 19 10 21 50
8   Russia 18 23 22 63
9   Brazil 16 14 17 47
10   Spain 15 21 22 58

Events highlights


  • Australia - Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) presented coverage of the Paralympic Games, on ABC1 and ABC2.
  • Brazil - SporTV2 and Terra Networks (online)
  • Canada - Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) provided coverage on their television and radio networks as well as extensive online coverage at CBC Paralympics in English. TV coverage consisted of four digest shows. In French, Radio Canada (SRC), CBC's French language arm, provided coverage in the form of two digests on television, with news articles on the web.
  • China, People's Republic of - Chinese Central Television (CCTV) provided coverage on CCTV-5 and CCTV-7.
  • France - Eurosport
  • Japan - NHK
  • Norway - NRK
  • Sweden - Sveriges Television
  • Turkey - TRT
  • United States of America - Universal Sports, an online subsidiary of NBC Universal, provided live streaming of selected Paralympic Games events (free registration required).
  • United Kingdom - BBC provided extensive coverage on television, and online.

In France, following the Games, Philippe Juvin, national secretary of the governing Union for a Popular Movement, accused national public television network France Télévisions of having practiced "segregation" by providing live coverage of the Beijing Olympics but only ten minute daily summaries of events, outside prime time, for the Beijing Paralympics. France Télévisions replied that it would take Juvin to court for slander.

While the Games were not broadcast live in the United States, NBC broadcast a documentary featuring highlights and athlete profiles on November 9, 2008, followed by a week-long series of coverage shown by Universal Sports beginning the day after.

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