IPC Alpine Skiing invites athletes to participate in classification research

This study is aimed to improve the current visual impairment classification system. 27 Oct 2015
A picture of a man skiing on the slopes

Mitch Gourley is one of Australia's top alpine skiier heading into the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

ⒸMarcus Hartmann

“There’s a lot of data missing and information. ... Hopefully by collecting that data, we can improve the system and make it fairer.”

Australia’s Mitchell Gourley has been skiing for more than 10 years. But it was just this year that he looked at classification in his sport at a different level.

As the IPC Alpine Skiing athlete representative, Gourley attended the Sport Technical Committee meetings in May at Bonn, Germany, where he learned more about the amount of research that goes into classification and how much evidence is needed to make changes.

“One of the things I wasn’t aware of until being involved as an athlete representative was how important the research is in developing the classification system and making the sport better for everybody,” Gourley said.

To further develop and improve its classification system, IPC Alpine Skiing is inviting its athletes to participate in research studies to improve the visually impaired (VI) classification system.

Gourley believes it is an invitation that the alpine skiing community should not take for granted.

“Alpine skiing is a different sport in the sun, and requirements – especially the VI athletes moving at high speeds through changing environments in sun and then shade and then sun again – I learned how that differs from a lot more indoor sports,” Gourley said. “This is an opportunity for those researchers to come along and observe the sport and find ways to improve the system.”

Eligible participants are male and females who are visually impaired and are competing in the IPC Alpine Skiing competition in Landgraaf, the Netherlands (17-20 November). The study will involve one visit lasting approximately 30 minutes.

Research in alpine skiing’s visual impairment (VI) classification structure will be used to facilitate the improvement of the current system in order to minimise the impact of visual impairment on competition.

“There’s a lot of data missing and information,” Gourley said. “Hopefully by collecting that data, we can improve the system and make it fairer.”

Complete information on the IPC Alpine Skiing’s classification research study is available to the left of this page.

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