Toronto Canada, 1976

Legacy of the Games

Several countries withdrew from the 1976 Paralympic Games due to the participation of South Africa, but a total of forty delegations did take part. This was the first time the Paralympic Games had been opened up to amputee and visually impaired athletes, previous Games having included only wheelchair athletes. This widening of participation allowed an additional 448 athletes to take part in 1976.

South Africa competed at the Paralympic Games for the fourth time. It was banned from the Olympic Games due to its policy of apartheid, but was not banned from the Paralympics until 1980.

Suitable accommodation for athletes was not available in the vicinity of the Paralympic venues, and alternative arrangements had to be made outside the immediate area. Disability groups were housed separately – the wheelchair athletes at York University and the others at the University of Toronto and the Institute for the Blind. School buses were hired and special loading docks constructed to transport the athletes between the venues and their accommodation.

The widening of the Games to include more disability groups allowed the inclusion of many new events. In wheelchair racing new distances of 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m were added. Rifle shooting and Goalball both became medal events, having been demonstration sports at previous Games.