Great Britain at the Paralympics

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Great Britain at the
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
IPC code GBR
NPC British Paralympic Association
Ranked 2nd
Summer appearances
Winter appearances

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has participated (under the name "Great Britain") in every Summer and Winter Paralympic Games.

While the Olympic Games find their origin in Greece, Britain, and specifically the Stoke Mandeville Hospital is recognised as the spiritual home of the Paralympic Games. The first Paralympic Games, held in Rome in 1960, were devised as a direct result of the Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games, devised by Dr Ludwig Guttmann for soldiers with spinal cord injuries.[1]

Britain has performed particularly well at the Summer Paralympic Games, consistently finishing between second and fifth on the medal tables - a slightly better performance than at the Olympics. Britain has won one gold medal at the Winter Paralympics and 626 at the Summer Games. Britain is second on the all-time Paralympic Games medal table.

Britain was the co-host of the 1984 Summer Paralympics in Stoke Mandeville, and the host of the 2012 Summer Paralympics, in London.

Although the country uses the name "Great Britain", athletes from Northern Ireland are entitled to compete as part of British delegations. Representatives of the devolved Northern Ireland government, however, have objected to the name, which they argue creates a perception that Northern Ireland is not part of the British Olympic team, and have called for the team to be renamed as Team UK.[2][3]

Under the terms of a long-standing settlement between the British Olympic Association and the Olympic Council of Ireland, athletes from Northern Ireland can elect to represent Ireland at the Olympics, as Northern Irish people are legally entitled to dual citizenship.[4]

Britain's most successful Paralympian is swimmer Mike Kenny who won 16 individual gold medals, as well as two relay silvers, in four Games,[5] although Great Britain has competed in every Games, the British Paralympic Committee was only founded in 1989, after Kenny's retirement. Media in Britain consistently refer to the most decorated Paralympic athletes from that year, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Dave Roberts and Sarah Storey as Britain's "greatest Paralympians", occasionally with the phrase "of the modern era", attached.[6] The International Paralympic Committee, however, recognise all of Kenny's eighteen medals as Paralympic medals.[7]

Britain's first Paralympic gold was earned at the 1960 Rome Games by Margaret Maughan.[8]

Britain's first Winter Paralympic gold was earned at the Sochi 2014 Games by Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans in the Women's Super-G Visually impaired.

Jade Etherington and guide Caroline Powell are the first and only Britons to win four medals at a single Winter Paralympics.[9] After winning a silver medal in the Super-G, visually impaired event on 14 March 2014, Etherington became Great Britain's most successful female Winter Paralympian.[10]

Hosted Games[edit]

In 2012, Great Britain became the second nation, the other being the United States, to host the Summer Paralympic Games twice.

Games Host city Dates Nations Participants Events
1984 Summer Paralympics Stoke Mandeville 22 July – 1 August 41 1100 603
2012 Summer Paralympics London 29 August – 9 September 164 4302 503

Medal tables[edit]

*Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.

(Last updated: 19 March 2018)

Top medal winning individuals[edit]

Summer Paralympics[edit]

Athlete Sport(s) Years Gender Gold Silver Bronze Total
Mike Kenny Swimming 1976–1988 M 16 2 0 18
Sarah Storey Swimming, Cycling 1992–2016 F 14 8 3 25
Tanni Grey-Thompson Wheelchair racing 1988–2000 F 11 4 1 16
Dave Roberts Swimming 2000–2008 M 11 4 1 16
Lee Pearson Equestrian 2000-2016 M 11 2 1 14

Winter Paralympics[edit]

Athlete Sport(s) Years Gender Gold Silver Bronze Total
Menna Fitzpatrick
Guide: Jennifer Kehoe
Alpine Skiing 2018 F 1 2 1 4
Kelly Gallagher
Guide: Charlotte Evans
Alpine Skiing 2010-2014 F 1 0 0 1
Jade Etherington
Guide: Caroline Powell
Alpine Skiing 2014 F 0 3 1 4
Denise Smith Ice Sledge Speed Racing 1984 F 0 3 0 3
Richard Burt Alpine Skiing 1992-1994 M 0 1 3 4

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "No place for 'NI', says Olympic Team GB", Belfast Telegraph, 10 March 2011
  3. ^ "Minister urges BOA to change 'erroneous Team GB name'". BBC News. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Full text of the constitution" (PDF). Department of the Taoiseach. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-04-15. Retrieved 2010-02-17.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ "Mike Kenny (swimmer)". Paralympians' Club. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sarah Storey Britain's greatest Paralympian of the modern era". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-10-12.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  7. ^ "Meet Britain's other greatest Paralympian". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-02-17.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ Olympic Broadcasting Service, channel IPC1, Paralympics International Feed, "2012 Summer Paralympics Opening Ceremonies", airdate 29 August 2012
  9. ^ "Winter Paralympics: Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell claim fourth medal". The Guardian. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Etherington becomes GB's most successful female Winter paralympian". ESPN. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014.