Paralympic Cross-Country Skiing at Whistler Olympic Park

Paralympic Cross-Country Skiing at Whistler Olympic Park

Paralympic cross-country skiers compete in men’s and women’s individual events over short, middle and long distances ranging from 2.5 km to 20 km. Each race has an interval start with skiers starting every 30 seconds. The International Paralympic Committee utilizes a Nordic Percentage System in order to equalize the disability time handicap for skiers within each category. The percentage is applied to each skier’s final time and the skier with the lowest calculated time is the winner.

In the relay event, each team member skis one leg. Teams are made up of skiers from different categories but with the total percentage for each team being equal. This means that no time calculation is required and the first team across the finish line wins.

Both techniques of classic (skis move parallel to each other through machine-groomed tracks) and freestyle (similar to speed skating, skiers push off with the edge of their skies) are used.

Athletes are classified as standing, sitting or visually impaired and compete against other athletes with a similar disability. Visually impaired skiers use the same equipment as able-bodied skiers but ski with a guide. Standing skiers have a locomotive disability and are able to use the same equipment as able-bodied skiers. Sit-skiers usually have no use of their legs (paraplegic) and use a special made sit-ski (a specially built chair attached to a pair of skis).

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