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
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
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).
Find out more information about the sport from Vancouver 2010.com.