As we continue the countdown to the Paralympic Winter Games, this week the spotlight shifts from biathlon to cross-country skiing. An introduction to the sport kicks off week three of the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) PyeongChang 2018 Sport Weeks.
Cross-country skiing competitions are open to athletes with a physical impairment and blindness/vision impairment. Depending on his or her functional impairment, a competitor may or may not use a sit-ski, a chair equipped with a pair of skis. Athletes with vision impairment compete in the event with a sighted guide.
Male and female athletes compete in short distance, middle distance and long distance (ranging from 2.5km to 20km) events or participate in a team relay across three categories: standing, sitting and vision impaired.
The sport first appeared at the Winter Paralympic Games in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, in 1976, and has been part of the programme ever since.
Cross-country skiing is governed by the IPC with co-ordination by the World Para Nordic Skiing Technical Committee following modified rules of the International Ski Federation (FIS) and is practiced by athletes in 25 countries.
World Para Nordic Skiing website