2008 Summer Paralympics

XIII Paralympic Games

"Sky, Earth, and Human Beings",
emblem of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games
Host city Beijing, China
Motto 同一个世界 同一个梦想
(One World, One Dream)
Nations participating 146
Athletes participating 3,951
Events 472 in 20 sports
Opening ceremony September 6
Closing ceremony September 17
Officially opened by President Hu Jintao
Paralympic torch Hou Bin
Paralympic stadium Beijing National Stadium
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The 2008 Summer Paralympic Games (Chinese: 第十三屆残疾人奥林匹克运动会), the thirteenth Paralympics, took place in Beijing, China from September 6 to 17, 2008. As with the 2008 Summer Olympics, equestrian events were held in Hong Kong and sailing events in Qingdao.

3,951 athletes from 146 countries took part.[1] This was the largest ever number of nations at the Paralympics (ten more than in Athens), and five countries competed for the first time.[2] China fielded more athletes than any other country. The slogan for the 2008 Paralympics was the same as the 2008 Summer Olympics, "One World, One Dream" (simplified Chinese: 同一个世界 同一个梦想; traditional Chinese: 同一個世界 同一個夢想 Pinyin Tóng yīge shìjìe tóng yīge mèngxiǎng, lit. "One World, One Dream"). China dominated the medal count finishing with 89 gold medals and 211 total medals, more than double the next-ranked NPC in both cases.

339 Paralympic records and 279 world records were broken.[1]

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Philip Craven declared the Games "the greatest Paralympic Games ever."[3]


Nineteen competition venues—seventeen in Beijing, one in Hong Kong, and one in Qingdao—were selected for the 2008 Summer Paralympics.[4]

  1. Beijing National Stadium (Birds Nest)
  2. Beijing National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)
  3. Beijing National Indoor Stadium (Fan)
  4. Fencing Gymnasium of Olympic Green Convention Centre
  5. Olympic Green Archery Field
  6. Olympic Green Hockey Field
  7. Olympic Green Tennis Centre (Flowers)
  8. Peking University Gymnasium
  9. Beihang University Gymnasium
  10. China Agricultural University Gymnasium
  11. Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium
  12. Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
  13. Beijing Shooting Range Hall
  14. Laoshan Mountain Bike Course
  15. Workers Gymnasium
  16. Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park
  17. Triathlon Venue
  18. Hong Kong Equestrian Venues
  19. Qingdao International Sailing Centre



The emblem, "Sky, Earth, and Human Beings" (Chinese: 天、地、人), was a multicolored Chinese character "之" (Chinese: zhī) stylized as an athletic figure in motion. The red, blue, and green in the emblem represent sun, sky, and earth.[5]


The slogan was the same as the 2008 Summer Olympics, "One World, One Dream".

Fu Niu Lele, mascot of the 2008 Summer Paralympics


The mascot was a cartoon cow named Fu Niu Lele (Chinese: 福牛乐乐), roughly meaning "Lucky Ox 'Happy'".[6]

Theme song

The theme song was 'Flying with the Dream' Chinese: 和梦一起飞.[7] It was performed by Chinese-Tibetan singer Han Hong and Hong Kong singer and actor Andy Lau.

Torch relay

The torch relay of the 2008 Summer Paralympics started from Tian Tan (Temple of Heaven) on August 28. The flame then gathered before The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿) and followed two routes (the "Route of Ancient China" and the "Route of Modern China"). Both routes returned to Beijing on September 5, and the torch was flamed at the National Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on September 6.

The Games

Further information: highlights, medal table, and medal winners

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony took place on September 6, 2008. The pre-ceremony performance was a succession of various musical performances, ranging from military music to folk music and a performance of Ode to Joy.[8] Following a countdown, a fireworks display signalled the beginning of the ceremony proper. The national flag of China was then raised, in accordance with usual protocol, and the national anthem of China performed.[8] Performers wearing suits in bright colours paraded round the stadium, as a welcoming ceremony preceding the athletes' entry.[8] As with the 2008 Summer Olympics, the ceremony included a parade of nations, with a flag bearer for each national team. Contrary to Olympic tradition, the national team of Greece did not enter first, as the Paralympic Games traces its roots to Stoke Mandeville rather than Olympia; the host country, as is customary in both Olympic and Paralympic Games, came last. As Chinese is written in characters and not letters, the order of the teams' entry was determined by the number of strokes in the first character of their respective countries' Simplified Chinese names.[9] Countries with the same number of strokes in the first character are sorted by those of the next character. This made Guinea (几内亚) the first country to enter as it takes two strokes to write the first character in the country's name (几). Following the athletes' parade, a performance took place, divided into chapters and sub-chapters entitled the "Journey of Space" and "Journey of Life"[8] The sunbird performance entailed Yang Haitao (杨海涛), a singer with a visual impairment, singing about dreams while an acrobat in sunbird costume descended in simulated flight from the air and "awakened the blind singer from his sleep".[8] The ceremony concludes with Hou Bin, the high jump gold medalist with one leg lighting the flame cauldron.[10]

Closing ceremony

The 2008 Summer Paralympics closing ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium. It began at 8:00 pm China Standard Time (UTC+8) on September 17, 2008.[11]


Twenty sports were on the program:

Rowing made its first appearance in the Paralympics at these games.


   Opening ceremony   Event competitions    Event finals    Closing ceremony
September 6th
Football (soccer) 5-a-side
Football (soccer) 7-a-side
Table tennis
Wheelchair basketball
Wheelchair fencing
Wheelchair rugby
Wheelchair tennis
September 6th

Participating NPCs

The following National Paralympic Committees sent delegations to compete.[12] Macau and the Faroe Islands are members of the International Paralympic Committee, but not of the International Olympic Committee; hence they participate in the Paralympic Games but not in the Olympics.

Burundi, Gabon, Georgia, Haiti and Montenegro were participating in the Paralympics for the first time.[1]

Botswana was due to take part, but its single athlete, defending Paralympic champion sprinter Tshotlego Morama, withdrew prior to the Games due to injury. The country's last-minute attempt to field other athletes in her place was rejected, as they did not meet the requirement of having participated in international events.[13]

Medal count

The top ten ranked NPCs at these Games are listed below. (Host nation is highlighted.)

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 China897052211
2 Great Britain422931102
3 United States36352899
4 Ukraine24183274
5 Australia23292779
6 South Africa213630
7 Canada19102150
8 Russia18232263
9 Brazil16141747
10 Spain15212258

Events highlights

International television

In France, following the Games, Philippe Juvin, national secretary of the governing Union for a Popular Movement, accused national public television network France Télévisions of having practiced "segregation" by providing live coverage of the Beijing Olympics but only ten-minute daily summaries of events, outside prime time, for the Beijing Paralympics. France Télévisions replied that it would take Juvin to court for slander.[14][15]

While the Games were not broadcast live in the United States, NBC broadcast a documentary featuring highlights and athlete profiles on November 9, 2008, followed by a week-long series of coverage shown by Universal Sports beginning the day after.[16]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Beijing 2008", International Paralympic Committee
  2. "CPC announces Canadian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games in China", Canadian Paralympic Committee, July 8, 2008.
  3. "IPC chief: "These are greatest Paralympic Games ever" _English_Xinhua". News.xinhuanet.com. September 17, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  4. "Competition Venues - The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games". The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. Archived from the original on July 26, 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  5. Beijing Paralympics Emblem - The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games
  6. Introduction to the Design of Fu Niu Lele - The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games
  7. "Beijing Paralympic theme song shows love for life". Xinhua. September 6, 2008. Archived from the original on September 29, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2008.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 "Full Coverage: The Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games", Xinhua, September 6, 2008.
  9. "Opening Ceremony plan released - The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games". Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
  10. Peopledaily. "Peopledaily.com." China opens Beijing Paralympic Games in celebration of life and humanity. Retrieved on September 14, 2008.
  11. English People's Daily. "People's daily." 2008 Olympics Closing Ceremony - Beijing. Retrieved on September 28, 2008.
  12. Official list, International Paralympic Committee.
  13. "Botswna locked out of Paralympics", Mmegi, September 5, 2008
  14. "Paralympiques: L'UMP accuse", Journal du dimanche, September 19, 2008.
  15. "Jeux paralympiques: France TV va attaquer Juvin (UMP) pour diffamation", Agence France-Presse, September 18, 2008.
  16. NBC to Air Stirring Documentary on 2008 Paralympics" TV Guide. November 7, 2008. Retrieved on November 7, 2008.

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