Cross-country skiing was included in the first Paralympics games in 1976 in Sweden. Para cross-country skiing has visually impaired, sitting and standing events for women and men. Standing and visually impaired racers use standard cross -country skis and poles, while sitting skiers use a sit ski. Visually impaired athletes have a guide on the course with them. They ski on the same track, beside or in front of the athlete, guiding them using a communication device.
In the 2018 Games, there are 20 cross-country events. These include 1.5 km sprints, other distances ranging from 5 to 20 km and open and mixed relay events.
Some athletes to watch out for: Maksym Yarovyi of Ukraine ran the table at the 2017 Para Nordic Skiing Championships, winning gold in all three Men’s sitting events! He already has his first Paralympic gold and will be in the conversation to win 2 more. His countrywoman Oleksandra Kononova also had a great World Championships last year, winning two golds and a silver in the Women’s Standing category, so she will be favored in her events at the Paralympics. Oksana Masters, representing the United States, was equally dominant at the World Championships, sweeping the Women’s Sitting events. She will look to win her first career Paralympic gold in PeyongChang!
Cross-country skiing begins at PyeongChang on Sunday March 11 and ends on Sunday March 18. We’re looking forward to seeing some great skiing!