London 2012: Athlete polyclinic to be renamed after founder of Paralympics
PUBLISHED: 09:27 11 September 2012 | UPDATED: 17:33 11 September 2012
The health centre used by 2012 sporting stars at the Athletes’ Village in the Olympic Park will be renamed as a lasting tribute to the father of the Paralympic movement, Sir Ludwig Guttmann.
The polyclinic will be handed over to the NHS and eventually become the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Health Centre. It will serve the new residents of the Olympic Village (which will be known as the East Village) and the existing local community.
Alongside its GP and pharmacy services, the centre will also provide a range of healthy activities, to be chosen and run by the local community.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Sir Ludwig Guttmann devoted his life to improving the care of disabled people, using sport to help turn people’s lives around completely. Without his innovative work, it’s clear that the Paralympics as we know them today would simply not exist. So it’s only fitting that we dedicate this state-of-the-art health centre to his memory.”
Eva Loeffler, daughter of Sir Ludwig Guttmann, said: “My father would have been honoured and thrilled to know that the legacy of the London 2012 Games would include a polyclinic that bore his name and served a community that had its roots in the wonderful Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2012.”
Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a pioneering neurologist, founded the Paralympic movement by incorporating sport into his rehabilitation programme for ex-servicemen after World War II.
In 1948, Sir Ludwig held an archery competition at Stoke Mandeville Hospital’s National Spinal Injury Centre to coincide with the London Olympics. Four years later the 16-participant event became an international competition, setting the foundations for the first Paralympics in Rome in 1960.
Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), said: “This is a fitting tribute to a great man who started this movement. I’m thrilled that his legacy will live on long after London 2012 comes to a close.”