South African apartheid and the 1976 Torontolympiad: A historical analysis of influential actions and events affecting the 5th Paralympic Games (Ontario).

Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name





History, Canadian.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


The 5th Paralympic Games were hosted by the Borough of Etobicoke in the City of Toronto, August 3rd to the 11 th 1976. Staged amidst great turmoil resulting from the participation of a team from South Africa, these games have been recognized by the founding father of the Paralympic Games, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, as the first Paralympic festival to be directly impacted by political forces. This paper identifies the events and actions that played a significant role in the development and eventual staging of the 1976 Paralympic Games. It highlights the perspective of influential agents and their roles in the organization of the games, outlines the relationship between the Canadian federal government and the Organizing Committee, and provides a chronological timeline of events leading up to the staging of the games. Decision making processes, their actors, and resultant actions ultimately influencing the Torontolympiad are analyzed throughout this paper. Through in-depth semi-structured interviews, extensive archival reviews, and newspaper analysis, this paper highlights a frame in time that was important to the development and staging of the Torontolympiad. Archives utilized include the National Archives of Canada, the Province of Ontario Archives, and the City of Toronto Archives. Analysis reveals that although the Torontolympiad Organizing Committee defied the Federal Government by accepting the entries of the South African team, the outcomes of their decision had a positive impact on the Torontolympiad. The Torontolympiad forced the Canadian Federal Government to realize that disability sport was a legitimate state concern, and thrust the Paralympic Games into the spotlight of the Canadian media.Dept. of Human Kinetics. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2005 .G745. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 45-01, page: 0132. Thesis (M.H.K.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2005.