#1YearToGo: Clarion sets sights on PyeongChang 2018 Test Event

Fresh from claiming two medals at the Worlds, France’s Para Nordic skier explains the importance of testing PyeongChang 2018 tracks ahead of next year’s Paralympics. 09 Mar 2017
A Nordic skier looks behind him at two other skiers approaching the crest of the hill, close behind him. Mountains are in the background.

After competing at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Finsterau, Germany, France’s Thomas Clarion has set his sights on the PyeongChang 2018 Test Event, where he will compete on the Paralympic track for the first time.

The 34-year-old is fresh from winning two medals in the men’s cross-country visually impaired with guide Antoine Bollet in Finsterau; a silver in the middle distance and a bronze in the sprint.

“I am happy with the start of the season,” said Clarion. “I gave the best of myself in every race.”

The PyeongChang 2018 Test Event, which will also act as a World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup between 10-15 March, is the Frenchman’s next challenge.

“I will try get familiar with the track,” he said thinking about next year’s Paralympics. Clarion also acknowledged he still needs to improve his skiing: “I need to continue working on my double poling.”

Clarion is currently ranked No.2 in the cross-country World Cup overall rankings behind Zebastian Modin. But Clarion knows he will not be able to overtake his Swedish rival because he is not planning to compete in the World Cup Finals in Sapporo, Japan, from 18-22 March.

“I am not fighting for the No.1 because I will not go to Japan. But I am aiming to give my best in Korea and, for me, the ranking will close after this event,” he said.

Clarion will compete at his third Paralympic Winter Games next year. He made his debut at Vancouver 2010 and also competed in Sochi 2014, where he took two bronzes in the men’s cross-country middle distance visually impaired and in the open relay.

With PyeongChang 2018 fast approaching, Clarion has set clear goals ahead of a new Paralympic experience. “I want to return without regrets!” he said.

The PyeongChang 2018 Test Event will also act as a World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup.. The World Cup Finals then take place swiftly afterwards in Sapporo, Japan, from 18-22 March.

Live results will be available at World Para Nordic Skiing’s website.

The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games will take place between 9-18 March and will feature up to 670 athletes, a 24 per cent increase on the 539 athletes that competed at Sochi 2014.