Sports of the Paralympic Winter Games: Cross-Country Skiing


Transcript

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Para cross-country skiing is a snow sport where athletes with physical and vision impairments race long distance across a variety of terrains.
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The sport made its Paralympic debut at the 1976 Paralympic Winter Games in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden.
00:25
Finland, Norway and Russia hold the most Paralympic medals for cross-country skiing.
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Cross-country skiing courses are loops made up of three equal sections of uphill, level and downhill fields.
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Courses are built for a number of race formats including: sprint, 10km middle, 20km long,
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mixed relay and open relay in both classic and freestyle.
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Course distances will vary depending on the event, ranging anywhere between 800m and 5km,
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which are skied a number of times depending on the race format.
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The Paralympic Games feature athletes with a wide range of physical impairments
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so the equipment used varies depending on an athlete’s classification and which technique they are using to ski.
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Sit-skis are specially fitted chairs atop a pair of skis and are used by athletes with lower limb impairments.
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These athletes rely entirely on upper body strength when racing.
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Standing and athletes with vision impairments use skis with boots that are lightweight
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and attached at the toe to allow flexibility in the heel.
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Vision impaired skiers ski with a guide. Also, all athletes can use poles.
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Para cross-country skiing is made up of 20 different events categorised by athletes competing in standing,
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sitting and those with vision impairments
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There are two skiing techniques used in cross-country skiing:
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Classic technique is where an athlete’s skis remain parallel as they travel along pre-made snow tracks.
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Skate, or freestyle technique, allows skiers the freedom to carve their own path
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by pushing off the sides of the skis like ice skates.
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Results of all Para cross-country skiing competitions
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are determined soley by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus.
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To guarantee all athletes compete on a level playing field, a factored timing system is used.
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Results are calculated by adding a percentage to the athlete’s race time.
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The percentage is specific to each sport class within each impairment group.
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Para cross-country skiers give everything they’ve got as they race across difficult snow-covered terrain
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in the hopes of taking home a medal.
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Their strength and perseverance proves no obstacle is too big.
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