|The 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, USA were held from 16 August to 25 August. It was the first Paralympics to get mass media sponsorship, and had a budget of USD $81 million.
It was the first Paralympic Games where International Sports Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability athletes were given full medal status.The mascot for the Paralympic Summer Games in Atlanta 1996 was Blaze.|
Blaze is a phoenix, a mythical bird that rises from ashes to experience a renewed life. The phoenix appears in Egyptian, Arabian, Chinese, Russian and native American folklore and in all instances symbolizes strength, vision, inspiration and survival. The phoenix was an ideal mascot for the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games and later for BlazeSports America, a nonprofit organization that is the direct legacy of the Games. The phoenix has long been the symbol of Atlanta’s rebirth after its devastation in the American Civil War. But most importantly, it is the personification of the will, perseverance and determination of youth and adults with physical disability to achieve full and productive lives. Blaze, with his bright colors, height and broad wing span, reflects the traits, identified in a focus group of athletes with disability, as those they believed best represented the drive to succeed of persons with physical disability who pursue sports as recreation and as a competitive endeavor. Today, Blaze is the most recognizable symbol of disability sport in America.