As we continue the countdown to the Paralympic Winter Games, this week the spotlight shifts from biathlon to cross-country skiing. An introduction to the sport kicks off week three of the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) PyeongChang 2018 Sport Weeks.
Cross-country skiing competitions are open to athletes with a physical impairment and blindness/vision impairment. Depending on his or her functional impairment, a competitor may or may not use a sit-ski, a chair equipped with a pair of skis. Athletes with vision impairment compete in the event with a sighted guide.
Male and female athletes compete in short distance, middle distance and long distance (ranging from 2.5km to 20km) events or participate in a team relay across three categories: standing, sitting and vision impaired.
The sport first appeared at the Winter Paralympic Games in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, in 1976, and has been part of the programme ever since.
Cross-country skiing is governed by the IPC with co-ordination by the World Para Nordic Skiing Technical Committee following modified rules of the International Ski Federation (FIS) and is practiced by athletes in 25 countries.