Paralympic cross-country skiing is an adaptation of cross-country skiing for athletes with disabilities. Paralympic cross-country skiing is one of two Nordic skiing disciplines in the Winter Paralympic Games; the other is biathlon. Competition is governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Paralympic cross-country skiing includes standing events, sitting events (for wheelchair users), and events for visually impaired athletes under the rules of the International Paralympic Committee. These are divided into several categories for people who are missing limbs, have amputations, are blind, or have any other physical disability, to continue their sport. The classifications are for:
Standing skiers use the two basic techniques in cross-country: classic-style, where the skis move parallel to each other through tracks in the snow, and the free-style or skate skiing where skiers propel themselves in a manner similar to speed skating, pushing off with the edge of their skis on smoothly groomed firm surfaces. Sit-skiers ride on sleds with skis designed for classic style tracks, propelling themselves with poles. Skiers compete in men’s and women’s individual events over short, middle and long distances ranging from 2.5 kilometres to 20 kilometres based on the type of event. Standing skiers compete in events of varying lengths—sprint (ca. 1,200 m), middle (10 km, men and 5 km, women) and long (20 km, men and 15 km, women). Sit-skiers compete in events of shorter lengths—sprint (ca. 800 m), middle (10 km, men and 5 km, women) and long (15 km, men and 12 km, women).
IPC events use one of three available start formats: individual timed starts, pursuit with multiple starters, and relay with successive competitors. Relay races may have competitors with a combination of disabilities, each of whom is assigned a handicap according to a "Nordic Percentage System." The percentage is applied to each skier’s final time and the skier with the lowest calculated time is the winner.
Sit-skiers compete in a sitting position using a sit-ski, which has a chair supported with a suspension over a pair of skis that ride in a track; the chair has strapping to secure the skier. Standing skiers use conventional cross-country racing skis, which are of fiberglass-composite construction. Both use poles, when able, to provide propulsion.
According to the IPC, paralympic cross-country skiing was introduced at the 1976 inaugural Winter Paralympics in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, initially using the classic technique. Skate-skiing was first sanctioned at the Innsbruck 1984 Winter Paralympics and became a "medal race" 1992 in Albertville, France. With the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Paralympics Nordic skiers first competed in the same venue used for the associated Olympic Winter Games.
The history of events has evolved by discipline in the distance categories shown. Note that the four-year cycle changed after 1992 to match the pattern of the Olympic Winter Games.
|1976||men||5 km||10 km||15 km||3x 5 km||3x 10 km|
|women||5 km||10 km||3x 5 km|
|1980||men||5 km||10 km||20 km||4x 5 km||4x 10 km|
|women||5 km||10 km||4x 5 km|
|1984||men||5 km||10 km||3x 2.5 km||4x 5 km||4x 10 km|
|women||2.5 km||5 km||10 km||3x 5 km||4x 5 km|
|1988||men||5 km||10 km||15 km||20 km||30 km||3x 2.5 km||4x 5 km||4x 10 km|
|women||2.5 km||5 km||10 km||3x 5 km|
|1992||men||5 km||10 km||20 km||30 km||3x 2.5 km||3x 5 km||4x 5 km|
|women||2.5 km||5 km||10 km|
|1994||men||5 km (c)||15 km (f)||20 km (c)||4x 5 km||Sit-ski||5 km||10 km||15 km||3x 2.5 km|
|women||5 km (c)||5 km (f)||10 km (c)||3x 2.5 km||Sit-ski||2.5 km||5 km||10 km|
|1998||men||5 km (c)||15 km (f)||20 km (c)||3x 2.5 km||4x 5 km||Sit-ski||5 km||10 km||15 km|
|women||5 km (c)||5 km (f)||15 km (c)||3x 2.5 km||Sit-ski||2.5 km||5 km||10 km|
|2002||men||5 km (c)||10 km (f)||20 km (f)||1x2.5 + 2x 5 km||Sit-ski||5 km||10 km||15 km|
|women||5 km (c)||10 km (f)||15 km (f)||3x 2.5 km||Sit-ski||2.5 km||5 km||10 km|
|2006||men||5 km||10 km||20 km||1x 3,75 + 2x 5 km||Sit-ski||5 km||10 km||15 km|
|women||5 km||10 km||15 km||3x 2.5 km||Sit-ski||2.5 km||5 km||10 km|
|2010||men||1 km (c)||10 km (c)||20 km (f)||1x 4 + 2x 5 km||Sit-ski||1 km||10 km||15 km|
|women||1 km (c)||5 km (c)||15 km (f)||3x 2.5 km||Sit-ski||1 km||5 km||10 km|
Australia participated in the 2006 Winter Paralympics in Torino, Italy, from 10 to 19 March 2006. The Turin games represented Australia's ninth appearance at the Winter Paralympic Games. Australia were represented by 10 athletes, which made it their largest ever Winter Paralympic Games contingent. Australia competed in 3 sports: Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, and Cross-Country Skiing, but not the Ice Sledge Hockey or the Wheelchair Curling. Prior to the games, the Australian Paralympic Committee set a target of 2 medals, down from the seven that were won 4 years earlier in Salt Lake City. This was due to the retirement of 3-time medallist Bart Bunting, as well as changes made to the disability classification system. This target was met with Australia winning a silver and a bronze medal to finish equal 13th on the medal tally.
Paralympic Nordic skiing is a Winter Paralympics sport consisting of biathlon and cross-country skiing. The sport is governed by the International Paralympic Committee, with its subcommittee for Nordic skiing known as World Para Nordic Skiing.
The Winter Paralympic Games is an international multi-sport event where athletes with physical disabilities compete in snow and ice sports. This includes athletes with mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and cerebral palsy. The Winter Paralympic Games are held every four years directly following the Winter Olympic Games. The Winter Paralympics are also hosted by the city that hosted the Winter Olympics. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) oversees the Winter Paralympics. Medals are awarded in each event: with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, following the tradition that the Olympic Games started in 1904.
Cross-country skiing at the 1998 Winter Paralympics consisted of 39 events, 24 for men and 15 for women.
The 2011 IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Championships took place 2–11 April 2011 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. IPC stands for International Paralympic Committee. This was the first time these championships were hosted in Russia, and the first time the championships were hosted in the same city as the IBU Biathlon World Championships which was held in Khanty-Mansiysk from March 3 to March 13, 2011.
Following the success of the first ever 1976 Winter Paralympics in Örnsköldsvik four years earlier, Norway was selected to host the Paralympic Games in 1980.
Para-Nordic skiing classification is the classification system for para-Nordic skiing which includes the biathlon and cross country events. The classifications for Para-Nordic skiing mirrors the classifications for Para-Alpine skiing with some exceptions. A functional mobility and medical classification is in use, with skiers being divided into three groups: standing skiers, sit skiers and visually impaired skiers. International classification is governed by International Paralympic Committee, Nordic Skiing (IPC-NS). Other classification is handled by national bodies. Before the IPC-NS took over classification, a number of organizations handled classification based on the type of disability.
LW12 is a para-Alpine and para-Nordic sit skiing sport class defined by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). An LW12 skier needs to meet a minimum of one of several conditions including a single below knee but above ankle amputation, monoplegia that exhibits similar to below knee amputation, legs of different length where there is at least a 7 centimetres difference, combined muscle strength in the lower extremities less than 71. For international competitions, classification is done through IPC Alpine Skiing or IPC Nordic Skiing. For sub-international competitions, classification is done by a national federation such as Alpine Canada. For para-Alpine, this class is subdivided into two subclasses.: LW12.1 and LW12.2. A new sit-skier competitor with only national classification will compete as LW12.2 in international competitions until they have been internationally classified.
LW11 is a para-Alpine and para-Nordic sit skiing sport class, a classification defined by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC for people with paralysis in the lower extremities and people with cerebral palsy that affects the lower half of the body. Outside of skiing, the competitor in this class is unable to walk. For international competitions, classification is done through IPC Alpine Skiing or IPC Nordic Skiing. For sub-international competitions, classification is done by a national federation such as Alpine Canada.
LW10 is a para-Alpine and para-Nordic sit-skiing classification for skiers who cannot sit up without support. For international skiing competitions, classification is conducted by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing and IPC Nordic Skiing, while national federations such as Alpine Canada handle classification for domestic competitions.
LW2 is a para-Alpine and para-Nordic standing ski sport class defined by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Competitors in this class have severe disability in a lower limb, which may be a result of an amputation, or arthrodesis in the leg and hip. Depending on the type of skiing, the international classification process for LW2 skiers is handled by the IPC Alpine Skiing Technical Committee and IPC Nordic Skiing Technical Committee. National sport federations handle classification on the lower levels.
LW3 is a para-Alpine and para-Nordic standing skiing sport class defined by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for skiers with a disability affecting both legs, with double below knee amputation or a combined strength total for both legs of 60, with 80 as the baseline for people without disabilities. For international skiing competitions, classification is done through IPC Alpine Skiing or IPC Nordic Skiing. The classification has two subclasses for para-Alpine skiing: LW3.1 which is for people with double below the knee amputations or similar disabilities, and LW3.2 which is for people with cerebral palsy that involves moderate athetoid, moderate ataxic impairment or slight diplegic involvement.
LW4 is a para-Alpine and para-Nordic standing skiing sport class defined by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for skiers who may have a disability in one lower extremity, which may be a result of a leg amputation below the knee, knee arthrodesis or a hip arthrodesis. For international skiing competitions, classification is done through IPC Alpine Skiing or IPC Nordic Skiing. A national federation such as Alpine Canada handles classification for domestic competitions.
LW5/7 is a standing para-Alpine and para-Nordic skiing classification for skiers with upper extremity issues in both limbs that may include double amputation of both arms and hands or dysmelia of the upper limbs. The class has three subclasses defined by the location of the disability on the upper extremities. International classification is done by IPC Alpine Skiing and IPC Nordic Skiing. On the national level, classification is handled by national sports federation such as Cross-Country Canada.
LW6/8 is a para-Alpine and para-Nordic standing skiing sport class, a classification defined by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for people with an upper extremity issue who have paralysis, motor paresis affecting one arm, a single upper arm amputation or CP8 classified cerebral palsy. LW6/8 skiers use two skis and one pole in both para-Alpine and para-Nordic skiing.
LW9 is a para-Alpine and para-Nordic standing skiing sport class, a classification defined by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for people with upper and lower limb function problems, and includes cerebral palsy skiers classified CP5, CP6 and CP7, along with people with hemiplegia or amputations. For international skiing competitions, classification is done through IPC Alpine Skiing or IPC Nordic Skiing. A national federation such as Alpine Canada handles classification for domestic competitions. This classification is separated into two subclasses including LW9.1 and LW9.2.
The sport of cross-country skiing encompasses a variety of formats for cross-country skiing races over courses of varying lengths according to rules sanctioned by the International Ski Federation and by various national organizations, such as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Ski Canada. International competitions include the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, the FIS Cross-Country World Cup, and at the Winter Olympic Games. Such races occur over homologated, groomed courses designed to support classic (in-track) and freestyle events, where the skiers may employ skate skiing. It also encompasses cross-country ski marathon events, sanctioned by the Worldloppet Ski Federation, and cross-country ski orienteering events, sanctioned by the International Orienteering Federation. Related forms of competition are biathlon, where competitors race on cross-country skis and stop to shoot at targets with rifles, and paralympic cross-country skiing that allows athletes with disabilities to compete at cross-country skiing with adaptive equipment.
Cross-country skiing at the 2018 Winter Paralympics will be held at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre, South Korea. The twenty events are scheduled to be held from 11 to 18 March 2018. Canadian Brian McKeever won three individual gold and a team relay bronze, his third triple gold medal performance, for a career total of 13 gold medals and 17 medals in all, making him the most decorated Paralympic cross-country skier ever.
Stanislav Chokhlaev is a Russian male visually impaired cross-country skier and biathlete. He represented Russia at the 2014 Winter Paralympics and was successful in his maiden Paralympic competition, claiming three medals including 2 silver medals in the cross-country skiing event. In 2017, he was awarded the Return to Life Prize by the Russian Paralympic Committee.
Belarus sent competitors the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. People are competing in para-Nordic skiing. The team includes one woman and one man. Both had gone to the Winter Paralympics before. The country has a history of doing well at the Winter Paralympics, having first gone in 1994. Going to South Korea, they had already won 23 Winter Paralympic medals.