Paralympic Winter Games
04 - 13 March

New members of IPC Athletes' Council elected at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics

Two members announced – third position is tied and remains vacant until the Athletes’ Council can make a decision 12 Mar 2022
Birgit Skarstein and Joshua Peter Dueck
Birgit Skarstein and Joshua Peter Dueck are the two newly elected members of the IPC Athletes' Council
ⒸGetty Images

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced the two newly elected members of the IPC Athletes' Council who will serve for the next four years until the Milano Cortina 2026 Paralympic Winter Games. The two elected council members are: 

  • Birgit Skarstein (Norway, Para Cross-Country Skiing) 
  • Joshua Peter Dueck (Canada, Para Alpine Skiing) 

Three Athletes’ Council positions were available at the election but two athletes were tied for the final place: Mitchell Gourley (Australia, Para Alpine Skiing) and Rico Roman (USA, Para Ice Hockey). What happens in the event of a tie is detailed in the IPC Handbook: 

Chapter 2.5 - Bylaws councils: 2.5.1 IPC Athletes’ Council - Appendix to Bylaw 2.5.1 IPC Athletes Council; 

3.3 In the event of a tie for the last position, the position remains vacant until the Athletes’ Council at their next meeting can make a decision. 

The IPC Athletes’ Council, a group of elected athlete representatives who act as the voice of the Para athlete community to the IPC, are next due to meet in April and will decide between the two candidates tied for third place. 

The Athletes’ Council is made up of nine athletes in total, which includes the three winter athletes and six summer athletes. The chairperson of the IPC Athletes’ Council is also one of the members of the IPC Governing Board.    

The IPC Athletes' Council elections took place from 25 February to 11 March during the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in the Proud Paralympian areas of Zhangjiakou, Yanqing and Beijing Paralympic Villages.  

There were eight athletes up for election to fill the three winter representative positions. In total 516 athletes voted, which is 57 votes more than Pyeongchang 2018. Each athlete was allowed to vote for three candidates. Voter turnout was 67.5%. 

Speaking on the election, Athletes’ Council chairperson Jitske Visser said: "On behalf of the Athletes’ Council we are thrilled to have Birgit and Joshua on the Council. We hope to use our next Athletes’ Council meeting in April to decide on the third member elected from the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. 

“It is important to add that these last two years have been a very challenging for the athlete community from winter sports with so many of their events postponed or cancelled, but they have come to Beijing and produced astonishing levels of high-performance sport.

“We have also had an unprecedented two Paralympic Games in seven months. Now the hard work starts for the Athletes’ Council as we must fully-focus on what we can do as the voice of Paralympic athletes within the Paralympic Movement. I am very hopeful that we can make a lot of positive progress.”  

The IPC Electoral Commission was chaired by Mark Copeland, Chairperson of the IPC Legal and Ethics Committee.  

The Athletes’ Council acts as the liaison between athletes and decision-makers, and influences how Paralympic sport and the Movement grow and develop. All candidates are active Paralympic athletes. This means he or she must have competed in the current edition of the Paralympic Games at which the election is taking place or have competed in either of the previous two editions of the Paralympic Winter Games (Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018).  

International Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Council election results, Beijing 2022 


Total votes 

Birgit Skarstein (Norway, Para Cross-Country Skiing) 


Joshua Peter Dueck (Canada, Para Alpine Skiing) 


Mitchell Gourley (Australia, Para Alpine Skiing) 


Rico Roman (USA, Para Ice Hockey) 


Liu Sitong (China, Para Alpine Skiing) 


Akzhana Abdikarimova (Russia, Para Cross-Country Skiing)  


Han Min Su (Republic of Korea, Para Ice Hockey) 


Pol Makuri Redolad Garcia (Spain, Para Cross-Country Skiing)