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The first “Paralympics”

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Activity 1

The first “Paralympics”

“What Were the Stoke Mandeville Games? Celebrating 70 Years Since the First Paralympics”

Seventy years ago this year, on July 29, 1948, the first Stoke Mandeville Games were held. The games – an archery competition for wheelchair athletes – went on to become an annual event and eventually inspired the Paralympic Games. [...]. On July 29, 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, a competition for wheelchair athletes took place at Stoke Mandeville. 16 patients (14 men and two women) from Stoke Mandeville and the Star and Garter Home took part in an archery tournament. The competition became an annual event which was named the Stoke Mandeville Games. More teams and sports were added as years went by; in 1949 six teams competed and ‘wheelchair netball’ – which later became wheelchair basketball – was introduced. [...]

Dr Ludwig Guttmann was a respected Jewish neurosurgeon who had been forced to flee his homeland of Germany in 1939 to escape Nazi persecution. Five years later, he was asked by the British government to open a Spinal Injuries Unit at Stoke Mandeville, intended to treat soldiers and civilians injured during the war. As part of his treatment for the injured veterans, Guttmann promoted sport as a means of physical and mental rehabilitation. The first sport played by patients was a hybrid form of wheelchair polo and hockey, initially played informally on the ward against the physiotherapists, before it was developed into a proper team game. Guttmann became a naturalised British citizen in 1945. The Games he created grew in size and stature; by 1952, more than 130 international competitors had taken part. This attracted the support and appreciation of the wider sporting community, and in 1956 Guttmann was awarded the Sir Thomas Fearnley Cup by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for his achievement. [...]

Margaret Webb at the Stoke Mandeville Games


Read the text.
Then, click on your path!


Workbook p. 62
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Pick out the numbers. What do they refer to?

Who were the athletes?

How was the opening ceremony?

Useful vocabulary: The number… refers to…
It is the number of… who / that…
The athletes were… / used to be…
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Pick out the dates and say what they refer to.

Why were the Paralympics Games invented? What is the reason given in the text?

Who was the inventor of the Paralympic Games?

Useful vocabulary: This date corresponds to…
It was invented because… Sports was a way to…
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Let's talk this out!

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Share your findings with your classmates.

Sum up the origins of the Paralympics.

What are the values of sports conveyed by disabled athletes?

Are you inspired by a disabled athlete more than an able one?

Useful vocabulary: It was organised / took place in…
To me,… / I would say that… / I think that… They are the perfect example of...
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Grammar in progress

Les verbes prépositionnels

Exercices p. 138 Précis grammatical p. 277
  • Observez les verbes en gras dans le texte. De quoi sont-ils formés ?
  • Quel effet a la préposition sur le sens du texte ?

Over to you!

Podcast it!

Let’s use what you have learnt in and !

As a BBC historian journalist, you promote the next Paralympic Games competition.

Use key information about the Stoke Mandeville games to make the audience discover this event and record a one-minute podcast.
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