Logo Paralympic Games
Netherlands flag
21 June - 05 July 1980
  • Countries: 43
  • Athletes: 1,973
  • Sports: 13

The Arnhem 1980 Paralympic Games served to consolidate the sports programs of the four major impairment groups. Their respective international sport federations were represented simultaneously in one venue for the first time ever.

These Games initiated the creation of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC), in which each federation was represented. This eventually gave way to the creation of the IPC as the governing body of the Paralympic Games by the end of the decade.


Thirteen different sporting events held competitions during the Games in Arnhem, including the first-ever appearance for sitting volleyball.

Archery Para athletics Dartchery Lawn Bowls Goalball Shooting Para sport Para swimming Table tennis Sitting volleyball Weightlifting Wheelchair basketball Wheelchair fencing Wrestling


A crowd of 12,000 people attended the Opening Ceremony on 21 June at the Papendal Stadium. IPC Honorary Board member Princess Margriet officially opened the Games, in which 43 nations and 1,973 athletes took part.


The USA and Poland tied for the most gold medals in Arnhem, with the USA taking 195 overall medals and Poland finishing with 177. Germany, Canada and Great Britain rounded out the top 5 on the medals chart


New Zealand’s Neroli Fairhall won the wheelchair women’s doubles archery competition and then went on to compete at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where she finished in 35th place out of 56.

The Netherlands team took the first-ever sitting volleyball gold medal with a win over Sweden in the finals.

Germany won the goalball competition in the sport’s debut, bettering the squads of 11 other nations.

In the pool, visually impaired American Trischa Zorn earned seven gold medals.

Canadian single-leg amputee Arnold Boldt won the gold medal in the high jump with a 1.96m jump, setting a new world record in the process.