The 1972 Summer Olympic Games took place in Munich, West Germany and the International Stoke Mandeville Games Committee hoped that the Paralympic Games could also be held there. However it proved impossible to find suitable accommodation for wheelchair athletes in Munich and so the city of Heidelberg was chosen instead.
Heidelberg already possessed an Institute for Physical Training at its university, with technical expertise and experience in the areas of disability sports, rehabilitation, integration and professional medical treatment. The institute became the main venue for the Paralympic Games, which were organised by the German Sports Federation for the Disabled (DVS).
Unusually, the Paralympic Games were held at the beginning of August 1972, before the Munich Summer Olympics began on 26 August.