IV Paralympic Games
Shot putter in 1972 Summer Paralympics
Host cityHeidelberg, West Germany
Events187 in 10 sports
Opening2 August
Closing11 August
Opened by
StadiumHeidelberg Thingstätte
1972 Summer Olympics

The 1972 Summer Paralympics (German: Paralympische Sommerspiele 1972), the fourth edition of the Paralympic Games, were held in Heidelberg, West Germany, from 2 to 11 August 1972. The games ended 15 days before the 1972 Summer Olympics held in Munich, also in West Germany.


As with previous Paralympics, the 1972 games were intended for wheelchair athletes only. However, demonstration events such as goalball and a 100 m sprint for the visually impaired allowed visually impaired competitors to participate for the first time.[1]

Medal table

Main article: 1972 Summer Paralympics medal table

The top ten listed NOCs by number of gold medals are listed below. The host nation, West Germany, is highlighted.

1 West Germany*28172267
2 United States17273175
3 Great Britain16152152
4 South Africa16121341
5 Netherlands14131138
6 Poland1412733
7 France1081533
8 Israel910928
9 Italy84517
10 Jamaica83415
Totals (10 entries)140121138399

Participating delegations

Forty-one delegations took part in the Heidelberg Paralympics. Bahamas, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Hong Kong, Hungary, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Romania, Uganda and Yugoslavia competed for the first time.[2]

Between 1964 and 1976, South Africa was competing at the Paralympics for the third time. Although banned from the Olympic Games due to its policy of apartheid, it was not banned from the Paralympics until 1980, and West Germany, as host country, did not object to its participation.[3][4]

Rhodesia competed for the last time. Its invitation to take part in the 1972 Summer Olympics was withdrawn by the International Olympic Committee four days before the opening ceremony, in response to African countries' protests against the Rhodesian government. But as the Paralympics that year were held before the Olympics (and between 1968 and 1984 in an independently from[clarification needed]), Rhodesia was able to take part in the 1972 Paralympic Games.[5][6]


  1. ^ "Heidelberg 1972". International Paralympic Committee. 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  2. ^ "Medal Standings – Heidelberg 1972 Paralympic Games". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
  3. ^ "'The Netherlands against Apartheid' – 1970s", International Institute of Social History
  4. ^ South Africa at the Paralympics, International Paralympic Committee
  5. ^ "1972: Rhodesia out of Olympics", BBC
  6. ^ "Rhodesia expelled", Montreal Gazette, August 23, 1972
Preceded byTel Aviv Summer Paralympics Heidelberg IV Paralympic Summer Games (1972) Succeeded byToronto