The very first Paralympic Games were held in Rome in 1960. At the time, it featured 400 athletes from 23 countries.Forty years later in Sydney, the record for the number of participants was beaten with 4000 athletes and 125 countries represented.Eighteen events were featured at these Games: Athletics, basketball, boccia, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, goalball, judo, weightlifting, swimming, shooting, archery, tennis, table tennis, sailing, volleyball and the new sport of wheelchair rugby. Handicapped sportsmen and women are rarely invited to the Olympics. The Paralympic Games are held in the month after the Olympics. Since Seoul in 1988, the competitions for the two Games have been held at the same locations. But it is not impossible that events reserved for the handicapped may make their way into the official Olympic games. The champions will just be that much more exceptional ! During the Atlanta games in 1996, a 1500 metre race for wheelchairs was run as a demonstration in the Olympic stadium to publicise the paraplegic games to be held there a few months later.