With one month to go until the Paralympic Winter Games kick off in PyeongChang, South Korea, here are six of the lesser-known facts about the event.
1. Not every sport will be contested in PyeongChang
Biathlon and cross-country events will take place at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre, located in PyeongChang. But none of the other four sports will be contested in the same city. Alpine skiing and snowboard competitions will be held in the neighbouring county of Jeongseon. The coastal city of Gangneung will stage the Para ice hockey and wheelchair curling events.
2. Norway lead historical medals table
The Nordic country is top of the Paralympic Winter Games’ historical medals table with 319 medals overall, including 135 golds, 103 silvers and 81 bronze. Norway have competed at every edition since the first in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, in 1976, with their best performance to date coming in their home Games of Lillehammer 1994, where they won 29 golds. Austria have sealed more medals than Norway at Winter Paralympics (325) but less golds (104).
3. How far is PyeongChang from Seoul and North Korea?
For those who are attending the Paralympic Winter Games and have a free day, they can visit the vibrant and multi-cultural South Korean capital of Seoul, which is 126km away. A special high-speed rail link installed for the Games means visitors can reach the capital in less than two hours. PyeongChang is also just 65km from the Demilitarised Zone on the border with North Korea.
4. Para ice hockey and wheelchair curling are mixed sports
Two of the six sports featured on the Winter Paralympic programme are mixed, which means both men and women compete together. The 2016 Summer Paralympics also featured two mixed sports with equestrian and wheelchair rugby, while archery, cycling, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming and wheelchair tennis included mixed events as well.
5. Ragnhild Myklebust, queen of the ice and snow
No winter Para athlete in history has won more medals and Paralympic titles than Norwegian legend Ragnhild Myklebust, who claimed 27 medals overall (22 golds, three silvers and two bronze) over five Winter Games between 1988 and 2002. She was a prolific cross-country skier and biathlete, as well as a successful ice sledge speed skater, a sport that was last included at the Games in 1998.
6. Two sports have been contested in every Winter Paralympics
Only alpine and cross-country skiing have been part of the Paralympic Winter Games since their first edition at Ornskoldsvik 1976. Biathlon made its debut at Innsbruck 1988, snowboard only four years ago in Sochi, Para ice hockey has been since Lillehammer 1994, while wheelchair curling was included at Turin 2006.
The Paralympic Winter Games take place from 9-18 March. Tickets can be purchased here.