24223-Derek Zaplotinsky photo

Derek Zaplotinsky

Nordic Skiing


Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment

Further personal information


Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
Following his motocross accident in 2006 he took four years to adjust to his impairment, before deciding to return to sport. He first got involved in handcycling, before taking up cross-country skiing.
Why this sport?
"Growing up in a small rural town in Alberta, shooting was something we enjoyed as kids. First with the pellet guns and then big game hunting. In all honesty I started cross-country skiing because I wanted to do biathlon. I thought biathlon would be a fairly easy sport to compete in, with my experience with guns, but was I mistaken. I learned quickly it's a lot harder than it looks. Biathlon is a sport that motivates me, I want the accuracy and speed while dealing with the heart rate and breathing."
Name of coach
Robin McKeever [national], CAN

General interest

Snowmobiling, quad biking, water sports. (, 01 Feb 2020)
Memorable sporting achievement
Competing at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (, 13 Sep 2018)
Hero / Idol
Italian biathlete Dorothea Wierer, Canadian Para biathlete Emily Young. (, 13 Sep 2018)
Other sports
He competed in both cross-country skiing and biathlon at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. He has also participated in handcycling at national level. Prior to his accident he raced in motocross competitions in Canada and the United States of America. (, 2016;, 24 Jan 2015;, 27 Jun 2014;, 2016;, 13 Sep 2018; SportsDeskOnline, 30 Dec 2020)
To win a medal at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (, 01 Feb 2020)
He has paraplegia as the result of a motocross accident in 2006 in Lloydminster, AB, Canada. Another motorcycle landed on top of him. (, 15 Mar 2020;, 2016)
Other information
He said he did not perform as well as he hoped to at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, where a sinus infection hampered his performance in later races. "In all honesty, I was bummed with my performance. I went into the Games feeling good with my skiing and shooting. In the biathlon sprint and 15km cross-country I was pleased with the ninth place results and was looking forward to putting it all together for the rest of the races. When it came to the middle distance biathlon, I felt my skiing was good but my shooting was not consistent. Prior to the sprint cross-country race I came down with a sinus infection, which definitely ended up hurting my performance for the rest of the Games." (, 13 Sep 2018)

He considers one of his weaknesses to be his habit of making technical adjustments to his sit-ski. "I overthink things and like to consistently play around with my sit-ski, looking for the perfect fit." (, 13 Sep 2018)


Unit Date Rank
2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships Cable (Cable, United States of America)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Short Distance Sitting Race 1 2015-01-24 18
Men's Long Distance - Free Style Sitting Race 1 2015-01-25 12
Men's Sprint - Classic Sitting Race 1 2015-01-28 18
Men's Middle Distance - Classic Sitting Race 1 2015-01-31 18
2017 IPC Nordic skiing World Championships Finsterau, GER (Finsterau, Germany)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Middle Distance Sitting Final 2017-02-11 9
Men's Sprint - Free Style Sitting Final 2017-02-12 9999
Men's Long Distance Sitting Final 2017-02-14 5
Men's Sprint Sitting Final 2017-02-18 10
Men's Middle Distance - Free Style Sitting Final 2017-02-19 12
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 7.5km Sitting Final 2018-03-10 9
Men's 15km Sitting Final 2018-03-11 9
Men's 12.5km Sitting Final 2018-03-13 12
Men's 1.1km Sprint Sitting Final 2018-03-14 12
Men's 7.5km Sitting Final 2018-03-17 15
Prince George 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships (Prince George, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Middle Distance Sitting Final 2019-02-16 9
Men's Middle Distance - Free Style Sitting Final 2019-02-17 5
Men's Sprint Sitting Final 2019-02-20 4
Men's Long Distance Sitting Final 2019-02-21 6
Men's Long Distance - Classic Sitting Final 2019-02-24 5