Summer Paralympic Games Logos (1960 – 2008)

I was requested to do this post by an old friend – so here it is Eli!

Rome 1960

No special logo was designed for these Games. They simply used the Stoke Mandeville Games logo of a wheelchair wheel wrapped around the world, which had been used at Stoke Mandeville for at least five years previously.

Tokyo 1964

The logo chosen by the Japanese for the Tokyo Games was full of symbolism. An outline of the white dove of peace was used to symbolise love. The logo also incorporated five rings. The word for ring in Japanese is ‘wa’ which has two meanings. It can mean ring, but it also means ‘harmony’. The rings also symbolise wheelchairs. Original the rings were laid out in a ‘W’ formation like the Olympic rings, but following a complaint from the IOC the design was changed to a ‘V’ shape to represent the athletes’ victory in overcoming the problems in their lives

Tel Aviv 1968

The logo used in Tel Aviv was simply an amalgamation of the three interlocking wheelchair wheels (representing Friendship, Unity and Sportsmanship) used by the Stoke Mandeville Games at the time and the term I.S.M.G. 1968 (International Stoke Mandeville Games 1968)

Heidelberg 1972

According to a member of the Heidelberg Organising Committee the logo for the 1972 Games was derived from the outline of a photograph of an un-named local archer

Toronto 1976

Designed by Peter G. Robinson, a Toronto graphics designer and Chairman of the Games Graphics Committee, the logo consisted of three elements i. an equilateral triangle with rounded corners representing the pyramid of the international sports movement for the disabled. This was made up of three colours with each colour representing a participating impairment group – blue (paraplegics), magenta (amputees) and orange/red (blind). ii. A pictogram of a human figure with arms raised in a gesture of achievement and representing the handicapped (sic) rising above disability through participation in sport and iii. three interlocking rings derived from the traditional symbol of the Stoke Mandeville Games (three wheelchair wheels representing friendship, unity and sportsmanship). Apparently the three rings may also be interpreted as deriving from the traditional five-ring symbol of the Olympic movement, with the loss of two rings symbolically representing some disability.

Arnhem 1980

The logo used by the organising committee was designed by Joop Smits of the PRAD advertising agency. It represents an unfurled Dutch flag adorned with the number ‘80’ to represent the year of the Games. The ‘80’ is also made up of three interlocking rings, which, as with previous Games were meant to represent Friendship, Unity and Sportsmanship.

New York 1984

On Saturday 16th June Keven Lewis, Director of Wheelchair Sports for the Los Angeles Olympic Organising Committee (LAOOC) presented the Games Director Michael Mushett with a Torch used in the Los Angeles Olympic Games for use in the opening ceremony the following day. This was the first time this had ever happened and signified the growing links between the Olympic movement and the fledgling Paralympic movement. It is appropriate then that the logo for the Games in New York was a flaming torch.

Stoke Mandeville 1984

The organisers reverted to using the same logo as the one used in the very early days of the Stoke Mandeville Games in the mid- to late 1950s and the very first Paralympic Games in Rome 1960. The fact that the Games were once again of spinal cord injuries only also enabled the organisers to officially attach the term Paralympic to the Games in its original meaning of ‘paraplegic Olympics’.

Seoul 1988

The logo was designed by Sung Nak-hoon and consisted of five traditional Korean decorative motifs known as tae-geuks, which were meant to represent the five oceans and the five continents. They were arranged in a ‘W’ configuration meant to represent the first letter of the word ‘World’ in order to represent the harmony and unity of the disabled worldwide through sport. Their horizontal configuration represented equality and humanity, and the wave shape expressed the willingness and determination of the disabled to become fully active.

Barcelona 1992

Designed by Josep Maria Trias, the logo was, according to the organising committee, ‘a symbolic and figurative design, dynamic in form and strongly Mediterranean in character’. It was based upon a symbolic depiction of a human figure using a wheelchair and the colours are meant to represent the blue of the Mediterranean, the yellow of the sun and the red of life itself.Madrid 1992

The Games in Madrid actually used two logos. The first was the five tae guk design first used in Seoul and was, at that time, the logo for the International Paralympic Committee. The second, based upon the five Olympic colours, depicts an energetic figure with arms raised as a sign of joy, triumph and happiness at the opportunity to take part in these Games and break the ribbon of that was meant to depict the barriers that had thus far prevented athletes with intellectual disabilities from participating in the Games.


Atlanta 1996

Entitled ‘Starfire’ the logo for the Atlanta Paralympics was meant to represent the fulfilment of an athlete’s dream. It may be interpreted as the star being the athlete and the fire being the passion that burns in the heart to fulfil their dreams. The fifth point of the star, revealed by the ‘dynamic flow of the rings’ represents the fulfilment of the athletes’ quest.

Sydney 2000

The Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games logo embodies the vitality of Sydney, the spirit of Australia and the ability and achievement of the Paralympic athlete. The logo depicts a dynamic human form — represented by three graphic shapes — leaping triumphantly forward and “breaking through” towards the Paralympic Games in 2000. It also portrays the Paralympic torch and echoes the sails of Sydney’s greatest landmark, the Opera House. The logo is cast in three of the unique colours of Australia: the rich blue of Sydney Harbour, the warm red of the earth, and the lush green of the forest.

Athens 2004

The logo aims to embody the strength and determination of the Paralympic athlete. It features the profile of an athlete – male or female – looking forward, symbolising optimism for the future. At the same time, this human face attempts to reflect the individual’s willpower and determination to succeed in all pursuits. The face’s lines are smooth, its colour a warm and bright orange – harbinger of the great celebration to come.

Beijing 2008

Dubbed ‘Sky, Earth and Human Beings’ and unveiled during a grand ceremony at the China Millennium Monument on July 13, 2004 in Beijing, the logo for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games is in the form of an athlete in motion. It is intended to embody the tremendous efforts that persons with a disability have to make in sport as well as in everyday life. It is typically Chinese in its form and style and the three colours used represent the sun (red), the sky (blue) and the earth (green). They are also intended to reflect the integration of heart, body and spirit, which are at the core of Chinese culture as well as the Paralympic Games.



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