It was in 2007 that the Parapan American Games were staged in the same city as the Pan American Games, following the Olympic/Paralympic model, with the Parapans taking place shortly after the conclusion of the Pan Ams.
Organised by CO-Rio in partnership with the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, the 2007 Games were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between 12-19 August.
As we approach the Americas Paralympic Committee’s (APC) 20th anniversary on 1 August, Rio 2007 comes at No.3 at the APC Top 20 Moments in History.
From the start, the Organising Committee vowed the Games would be handled in the same way as the Pan American Games, making the event an opportunity to promote and value Paralympic sport across the Americas.
The Games featured a record 1,115 athletes from 25 countries.
The 10 sports that were included in the Games each had a qualification criteria. This ensured a high level of competition, made each of the events more attractive for athletes and expanded their recognition within the international community.
For many athletes, the Games were an opportunity to be classified, face their main opponents, compete in newly built top-class facilities and be involved in a large scale sporting event.
Excellent sporting performances in all sports resulted in 26 world and 73 Parapan American records.
Host nation Brazil topped the medals table claiming 228 podium places, including 83 gold medals. Canada and USA completed the top three nations.
Spectators were able to watch the sports free of charge and around 280,000 turned out in force. Football 5-a-side, wheelchair basketball, swimming and athletics drew big crowds.
A total of 5,000 volunteers helped deliver the Games, including a number with impairment.
Ahead of the Games, the first ever Parapan American Torch Relay took place on 11 August, the day before the Opening Ceremony. It took in a 20km route and involved many stakeholders.
Accommodation was provided in the same village that hosted the Pan American Games athletes. Therefore, the venues were arranged to meet the accessibility needs of the athletes and teams.
The stunning success of the Games helped Rio successfully bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Brazil win the right to stage the 2014 FIFA World Cup.