Many inspiring athletes will take center stage at the 2022 Winter Paralympics. Here are the sports scheduled for this year’s games:
Para alpine skiing is practiced worldwide and features several different kinds of skiing such as downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G, super combined, and team events. The sport was developed following the end of World War II, when injured ex-servicemen returned to the sport they loved and in 1948, the first para alpine skiing courses were offered. Competition accommodates male and female athletes with a physical impairment such as spinal injury, cerebral palsy, amputation, Les Autres conditions, and blindness/vision impairment. Athletes compete in three categories based on their functional ability, and a results calculation system allows athletes with different impairments to compete against each other. Skiers with blindness/vision impairment are guided through the course by sighted guides using signals to indicate the course to follow.
Para biathlon is divided into sitting, standing, and visually impaired categories, and combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Biathlon was introduced in 1988 for athletes with a physical impairment and in 1992, athletes with a vision impairment also became eligible to compete. At the 1994 Lillehammer Paralympic Winter Games, Biathlon was introduced as a medal event for both men and women.
Para cross-country skiing first appeared at the 1976 Paralympic Winter Games in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. The competition is open to athletes with a physical and vision impairment.
Para snowboard is practiced worldwide and features three disciplines: snowboard-cross, banked slalom, and giant slalom. Athletes combine speed and agility while racing down courses as fast as they can. The sport made its debut at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games with two medal events in women’s and men’s snowboard-cross. In 2022, the para snowboarding will feature eight medal events with two medal events for the women’s program.
Since its debut at the 1994 Winter Games, the Paralympic version of ice hockey has quickly become one of the largest attractions for spectators. It is fast paced and highly physical, and played by male and female athletes with a physical impairment in the lower body. The United States will be hoping to win a fourth successive Paralympic title in sled hockey in 2022, with eight teams taking to the ice.
Wheelchair Curling made its Paralympic debut in Torino in 2006. The sport is open to male and female athletes who have a physical impairment in the lower half of their body. Wheelchair curling will feature 12 mixed gender teams with each team required to include at least one female player. Competition will take place in Beijing’s iconic Water Cube venue that was used for para swimming during the 2008 Paralympics and is currently undergoing a transformation into the Ice Cube for the 2022 Games.