From the 17th to the 28th of September 2004, two weeks after the completion of the Olympic Games, Athens will welcome 4,000 Paralympic athletes from about 130 countries, as well as over 2,000 team officials. All will be accommodated at the Paralympic Village.
The general philosophy of the Paralympic Games is to follow the rules of the Olympic sports as much as possible.
Such a philosophy is already implied in the name of the event. The term “Paralympic” derives from the word “Olympic” and the suffix “Para”, a Greek preposition which means “close to”. The Paralympic Games is an elite sports event in terms of both the organisation and the actual competition.
About 3,000 media representatives will cover the ATHENS 2004 Paralympic Games while approximately 1,000 technical officials and 15,000 volunteers will provide assistance.
2,500 members of the Paralympic Family (representatives of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) etc.), will also attend the whole event.
The Paralympic Games will be held at the same venues as the Olympic Games. These are provided with the necessary facilities to accommodate all athletes and spectators. At the same time, infrastructure is being upgraded in all cities so as to ensure accessibility to all.
In order to establish equitable practices, athletes competing in the Paralympic Games will not have to pay any participation fees. This is done for the first time in the history of the Paralympic events. By abolishing the participation fees, ATHENS 2004 wishes to eliminate any discrimination between the athletes taking part in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In addition to abolishing the fees for the first time, ATHENS 2004 is the first Organising Committee for the Olympic Games which, operating under a unified management structure, is responsible for organising both the Olympic and the Paralympic Games.
The Paralympic Games Division is responsible for providing strategic planning, coordination and support to all ATHENS 2004 departments and divisions while working closely with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC)