Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Inclusion through Sport: A Critical View on Paralympic Legacy from a Historical Perspective

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Abstract:  Through its commitment to universalism, the inclusion of disabled people has become an increasingly prominent objective of the Paralympic Games. To achieve this, the organisers rely on the notion of legacy, which refers to the expected effects of major sporting events on host countries. This notion was initially founded on material aspects and then took an interest in certain intangible sides that were spotted within the organiser’s goals and studied in literature. Building on the historical literature about the Paralympic movement’s institutionalization, this article shows that this institutionalization took place in a context of tension between disabled communities, depending on their proximity to the Olympic model. What is the impact of this historical legacy in terms of inclusion of the greater number? By shedding light on the historical perspective of the obstacles encountered in the creation of an ‘all-disabilities’ sporting event, this article aims to discuss and challenge the current perspective on the inclusive legacy of the Paralympic Games.

Keywords:  disability; inclusion; legacy; Paralympic Games; sport



© Sylvain Ferez, Sébastien Ruffié, Hélène Joncheray, Anne Marcellini, Sakis Pappous, Rémi Richard. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.