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The Winter Paralympic Games (german: Paralympische Winterspiele) is an international
multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting Sporting may refer to: *Sport, recreational games and play *Sporting (neighborhood), in Alexandria, Egypt Sports clubs *AC Sporting, a football club from Beirut, Lebanon *Alexandria Sporting Club, a sp ...
where athletes with physical disabilities compete in snow and ice sports. This includes athletes with mobility disabilities,
amputations Amputation is the removal of a limb by trauma, medical illness A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material ob ...
,
blindness Visual impairment, also known as vision impairment or vision loss, is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses Glasses, also known as eyeglasses or spectacles, are vision eyew ...
, and
cerebral palsy Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of movement disorders Movement disorder refers to any clinical syndrome with either an excess of movement or a paucity of voluntary and involuntary movements, unrelated to weakness or spasticity Spasticity () is ...

cerebral palsy
. The Winter
Paralympic Games The Paralympic Games or Paralympics, also known as the ''Games of the Paralympiad'', is a periodic series of international multi-sport events involving athletes with a range of physical disability, disabilities, including impaired muscle power ...
are held every four years directly following the
Winter Olympic Games The Winter Olympic Games (french: Jeux olympiques d'hiver) is a major international multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting Sporting may refer to: *Sport, recreational games and play *Sporting (neighborhood), in Al ...
. The Winter Paralympics are also hosted by the city that hosted the Winter Olympics. The
International Paralympic Committee The International Paralympic Committee (IPC; german: Internationales Paralympisches Komitee) is an international non-profit organisation and the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Paralympic Games The ...
(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 The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a pe ...
started in 1904. The Winter Paralympics began in
1976 Events January * January January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by as a modification of the , r ...
in
Örnsköldsvik Örnsköldsvik () is a Urban areas in Sweden, locality and the seat of Örnsköldsvik Municipality in Västernorrland County, Sweden, with 32,953 inhabitants in 2017. Its natural harbour and archipelago is in the Gulf of Bothnia and the northern b ...

Örnsköldsvik
, Sweden. Those Games were the first Paralympics (Summer or Winter) that featured athletes other than wheelchair athletes. The Games have expanded and grown to be (along with the Summer Games) part of the largest international sporting event after the Olympic Games. Given their expansion, the need for a very specific classification system has arisen. This system has also given rise to controversy and opened the door for cheating. Winter Paralympians have also been convicted of steroid use and other forms of
cheating Cheating generally describes various actions designed to subvert rules in order to obtain unfair advantages. This includes acts of bribery Bribery is defined by ''Black's Law Dictionary ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most widely used law ...
unique to Paralympic athletes, which has tainted the integrity of the Games.


History

The origins of the Winter Paralympics are much similar to the
Summer Paralympics The Summer Paralympics also known as the Games of the Paralympiad, are an international multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting event, often held over multiple days, featuring competition in many different sports among o ...
. Injured soldiers returning from World War II sought sports as an avenue to healing. Organized by Dr.
Ludwig Guttmann Sir Ludwig "Poppa" Guttmann (3 July 1899 – 18 March 1980)GRO – Register of Deaths – MAR 1980 19 1000 AYLESBURY, Ludwig Guttmann, DoB = 3 July 1899 was a German-born British neurologist Neurology (from el, νεῦρον (neûron), "s ...

Ludwig Guttmann
, sports competitions between British convalescent hospitals began in 1948 and continued until 1960 when a parallel Olympics was held in
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
after the
1960 Summer Olympics The 1960 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVII Olympiad (Italian: ''Giochi della XVII Olimpiade''), were an international multi-sport event held from 25 August to 11 September 1960 in Rome, Italy. Rome had previously been awa ...
. Over 400 wheelchair athletes competed at the
1960 Paralympic Games The 9th Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games, retroactively designated as the 1960 Summer Paralympics ( it, I Giochi Paralimpici Estivi), Sepp Zwicknagl, a pioneer of snow sports for disabled athletes, was a double-leg amputee Austrian skier who experimented skiing using prosthetics. His work helped pioneer technological advances for people with disabilities who wished to participate in winter sports. Advances were slow and it was not until 1974 that the first official world ski competition for physically impaired athletes, featuring downhill and a cross-country skiing, was held. The first Winter Paralympics were held in
1976 Events January * January January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by as a modification of the , r ...
at
Örnsköldsvik Örnsköldsvik () is a Urban areas in Sweden, locality and the seat of Örnsköldsvik Municipality in Västernorrland County, Sweden, with 32,953 inhabitants in 2017. Its natural harbour and archipelago is in the Gulf of Bothnia and the northern b ...

Örnsköldsvik
, Sweden from February 21–28. Alpine and Nordic skiing for amputees and visually impaired athletes where the main events but ice sledge racing was included as a demonstration event. There were 198 participating athletes from 16 countries, and it was the first time athletes with impairments other than wheelchair athletes were permitted to compete. Starting in
1988 1988 was a crucial year in the early history of the Internet—it was the year of the first well-known computer virus, the Morris worm, 1988 Internet worm. The first permanent intercontinental Internet link was made between the United States ...
the Summer Paralympics were held in the same host city as the
Summer Olympic Games The Summer Olympic Games, also known as the Games of the Olympiad, are a major international multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting Sporting may refer to: *Sport, recreational games and play *Sporting (neighborhood), ...
. This was due to an agreement reached between the
International Olympic Committee The International Olympic Committee (IOC; french: Comité international olympique, ''CIO'') is a non-governmental sports organisation based in Lausanne , neighboring_municipalities= Bottens Bottens is a municipalities of Switzerland, m ...
(IOC) and the
International Paralympic Committee The International Paralympic Committee (IPC; german: Internationales Paralympisches Komitee) is an international non-profit organisation and the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Paralympic Games The ...
(IPC). The 1992 Winter Paralympics were the first Winter Games to use the same facilities as the
Winter Olympics The Winter Olympic Games (french: Jeux olympiques d'hiver) is a major international multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting Sporting may refer to: *Sport, recreational games and play *Sporting (neighborhood), in Ale ...
.


Cheating

Athletes have cheated by over-representing impairment to have a competitive advantage, and the use of performance-enhancing drugs. German skier Thomas Oelsner became the first Winter Paralympian to test positive for steroids in
2002 2002 was designated as the International Year of Ecotourism and the International Year of Mountains. Events January * January 1 ** The Treaty on Open Skies, Open Skies mutual surveillance treaty, initially signed in 1992, officially enters ...
. He had won two gold medals in the alpine events but was stripped of his medals. One concern now facing Paralympic officials is the technique of boosting blood pressure, known as
autonomic dysreflexia Autonomic dysreflexia (AD), also previously known as mass reflex, is a potential medical emergency A medical emergency is an acute injury or illness that poses an immediate risk to a person's life or long-term health, sometimes referred to ...
. The increase in blood pressure can improve performance by 15% and is most effective in the endurance sports such as
cross-country skiing Cross-country skiing is a form of skiing Skiing is the use of ski A ski is a narrow strip of semi-rigid material worn underfoot to glide over snow. Substantially longer than wide and characteristically employed in pairs, skis are att ...
. To increase blood pressure athletes will deliberately cause trauma to limbs below a spinal injury. This trauma can include breaking bones, strapping extremities in too tightly and using high-pressured compression stockings. The injury is painless to the athlete but affects the body and impacts the athlete's blood pressure, as can techniques like allowing the bladder to overfill.
International Paralympic Committee The International Paralympic Committee (IPC; german: Internationales Paralympisches Komitee) is an international non-profit organisation and the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Paralympic Games The ...
(IPC) found evidence that the Disappearing Positive Methodology was in operation at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi. On 7 August 2016, the IPC's Governing Board voted unanimously to ban the entire Russian team from the
2016 Summer Paralympics The 2016 Summer Paralympics (), the 15th Summer Paralympic Games, were a major international multi-sport event for disabled sports, athletes with disabilities governed by the International Paralympic Committee, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, fro ...

2016 Summer Paralympics
, citing the Russian Paralympic Committee's inability to enforce the IPC's Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code which is "a fundamental constitutional requirement". IPC President Sir Philip Craven stated that the Russian government had "catastrophically failed its Para athletes". IPC Athletes' Council Chairperson Todd Nicholson said that Russia had used athletes as "pawns" in order to "show global prowess".


Disability categories

The IPC has established six disability categories applying to both the Summer and Winter Paralympics. Athletes with one of these physical disabilities are able to compete in the Paralympics though not every sport can allow for every disability category. *Amputee: Athletes with a of at least one
limb Limb can refer to: *Limb (anatomy), an appendage of a human or animal *Limb Music, a record label *Limb (album), an album by Foetus *Limb, in astronomy, the curved edge of the apparent disk of a celestial body, e.g. lunar limb *Limb, a large or mai ...
. *Cerebral Palsy: Athletes with non-progressive
brain damage Neurotrauma, brain damage or brain injury (BI) is the destruction or degeneration of brain cells. Brain injuries occur due to a wide range of internal and external factors. In general, brain damage refers to significant, undiscriminating trau ...
, for example
cerebral palsy Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of movement disorders Movement disorder refers to any clinical syndrome with either an excess of movement or a paucity of voluntary and involuntary movements, unrelated to weakness or spasticity Spasticity () is ...

cerebral palsy
,
traumatic brain injury A traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as an intracranial injury, is an injury to the brain caused by an external force. TBI can be classified based on severity (ranging from mild traumatic brain injury TBI/concussionto severe traumatic ...
,
stroke A stroke is a medical condition A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function (biology), function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Di ...

stroke
or similar disabilities affecting muscle control,
balance Balance may refer to: Common meanings * Balance (ability) in biomechanics * Balance (accounting) * Balance or weighing scale Arts and entertainment Film * Balance (1983 film), ''Balance'' (1983 film), a Bulgarian film * Balance (1989 film), ''Bal ...
or
coordination Coordination may refer to: * Coordination (linguistics) In linguistics, coordination is a complex syntactic In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentence ...
. *Intellectual Disability: Athletes with a significant impairment in intellectual functioning and associated limitations in adaptive behavior. *Wheelchair: Athletes with
spinal cord injuries A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that causes temporary or permanent changes in its function. Symptoms may include loss of muscle function, sensory system, sensation, or autonomic nervous system, autonomic function in the p ...
and other disabilities which require them to compete in a
wheelchair A wheelchair is a chair One of the basic pieces of furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and ...

wheelchair
. *Visually Impaired: Athletes with
vision impairment Visual impairment, also known as vision impairment or vision loss, is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses Glasses, also known as eyeglasses or spectacles, are vision eyewe ...
ranging from partial vision, sufficient to be judged
legally blind Visual impairment, also known as vision impairment or vision loss, is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses Glasses, also known as eyeglasses or spectacles, are vision eyewe ...
, to total
blindness Visual impairment, also known as vision impairment or vision loss, is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses Glasses, also known as eyeglasses or spectacles, are vision eyew ...
. *''Les Autres'': Athletes with a physical disability that does not fall strictly under one of the other five categories, such as
dwarfism Dwarfism occurs when an organism is exceptionally small. In humans, it is sometimes defined as Short stature, an adult height of less than , regardless of sex; the average adult height among people with dwarfism is , although some individuals ...
,
multiple sclerosis Multiple sclerosis (MS), also known as encephalomyelitis disseminata, is the most common demyelinating disease A demyelinating disease is any disease of the nervous system in which the myelin sheath of neurons is damaged. This damage impa ...
or
congenital A birth defect, also known as a congenital disorder, is a condition present at birth Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring, also referred to in technical contexts as parturition. In mammals, the process is initiate ...
deformities Image:Octopus-sucker-deformity.jpg, 220px, A deformed sucker (cephalopod anatomy), sucker cluster on an arm of an octopus A deformity, dysmorphism, or dysmorphic feature is a major abnormality in the shape of a body part or organ compared to the n ...
of the limbs such as that caused by
thalidomide Thalidomide, sold under the brand names Contergan and Thalomid among others, is a medication used to treat a number of cancers (including multiple myeloma), graft-versus-host disease, and a number of skin conditions including complications of l ...

thalidomide
(the name for this category is for "the others").


Classifications

Within the six disability categories the athletes still need to be divided according to their level of impairment. The classification systems differ from sport to sport. The systems are designed to open up Paralympic sports to as many athletes as possible, who can participate in fair competitions against athletes with similar levels of ability. The closest equivalents in able-bodied competitions are age classifications in junior sports, and weight divisions in wrestling, boxing, and weightlifting. Classifications vary in accordance with the different skills required to perform the sport. The biggest challenge in the classification system is how to account for the wide variety and severity of disabilities. As a result, there will always be a range of impairment within a classification. What follows is a list of the Winter Paralympic sports and a general description of how they are classified.
Alpine skiing Alpine skiing, or downhill skiing, is the pastime of sliding down snow-covered slopes on Ski, skis with fixed-heel Ski binding, bindings, unlike other types of skiing (Cross-country skiing, cross-country, Telemark skiing, Telemark, or ski jumpin ...
: There are two events in alpine skiing: slalom and giant slalom. Alpine skiing accommodates athletes with the following physical limitations: spinal injury, Cerebral Palsy, amputation, ''Les Autres'' and blindness/visual impairment. There are eleven classifications, seven for standing athletes, three for sitting athletes, and three for visually impaired athletes. The divisions are defined by the degree of the athletes' function and the need for assistive equipment (prosthesis, ski poles, etc.). Snowboard Cross is technically now included in this category, though competition will take place with only limited classifications (see below).
Biathlon The biathlon is a winter sport#REDIRECT Winter sports#REDIRECT Winter sports Winter sports or winter activities are competitive sports or non-competitive recreational activities which are played on snow or ice. Most are variations of skiing, ...

Biathlon
: Biathlon is a combination of cross-country skiing with target shooting. It requires physical stamina and accurate shooting. The events are open to athletes with physical disabilities and visual impairments. There are fifteen classes in which athletes will be placed depending on their level of function. Twelve divisions are for athletes with a physical impairment and three divisions are for athletes with a visual impairment. The athletes compete together and their finishing times are entered into a formula with their disability class to determine the athletes' overall finish order. Visually impaired athletes are able to compete through the use of acoustic signals. The signal intensity varies depending upon whether or not the athlete is on target.
Cross-country skiing Cross-country skiing is a form of skiing Skiing is the use of ski A ski is a narrow strip of semi-rigid material worn underfoot to glide over snow. Substantially longer than wide and characteristically employed in pairs, skis are att ...
: Cross-country skiing, also known as Nordic skiing is open to athletes with Cerebral Palsy, amputations, the need for a wheelchair, visual impairment and intellectual impairment. There are fifteen classifications, three for visually impaired athletes, nine for standing athletes and three for seated athletes. The divisions are determined in a similar fashion to alpine skiing with attention given to the athletes' level of function and need for assistive devices.
Ice Sledge Hockey Sledge hockey (also known as Para ice hockey, or sled hockey in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language nati ...
: Ice sledge hockey is open only to male competitors with a physical disability in the lower part of their body. The game is played using international hockey rules with some modifications. Athletes sit on sledges with two blades that allow the puck to go beneath the sledge. They also use two sticks, which have a spike-end for pushing and a blade-end for shooting. The athletes are classified into three groups: group 1 is for athletes with no sitting balance or with major impairment in both upper and lower limbs, group 2 is for athletes with some sitting balance and moderate impairment in their extremities and athletes in group 3 have good balance and mild impairment in their upper and lower limbs.
Wheelchair curlingImage:Paralympic_Curling.jpg, 200px, Wheelchair curling at the 2006 Winter Paralympics Wheelchair curling is an adaptation of curling for athletes with a disability affecting their lower limbs or gait. Wheelchair curling is governed by the World Cur ...
: Wheelchair curling is a coed team event for athletes with permanent lower limb disabilities that require them to use a wheelchair in their daily lives. Athletes with Cerebral Palsy or Multiple Sclerosis can also play if they use a wheelchair. Delivery of the stone can be by hand release or the use of a pole. There are no classifications in this event except the requirement that all athletes participating must have need for a wheelchair for daily mobility. Para-snowboarding: On 2 May 2012, the International Paralympic Committee officially sanctioned "para-snowboarding" (commonly known as ''adaptive snowboarding'') as a medal event in the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games under Alpine Skiing. There will be men's and women's standing snowboard-cross competitions. The IPC currently recognizes two broader sport classes, one for competitors with lower-limb impairments and one for those with upper-limb impairments. Visually impaired classes are not currently recognized and the sport's debut in the 2014 Sochi Paralympics featured events for only athletes with lower-limb impairments, who permitted to wear a prosthesis. The events are held in a time trial format (one rider on course at a time), and results within each broad class calculated ''without'' factors that adjust raw times based on disability classification (for example, a hypothetical athlete with a single above-knee amputation ''will not receive any adjustment'' to his or her start-to-finish time, even though the lack of a knee and functional quadriceps in one leg can result in an impairment much greater than a hypothetical athlete with a single below-knee amputation but two functional quadriceps). However, at the 2018 Winter Paralympics, snowboarding turned into an individual sport, and the number of events increased from 2 to 10.


List of Paralympic sports

A number of different sports have been part of the Paralympic program at one point or another.


All-time medal table

According to official data of the
International Paralympic Committee The International Paralympic Committee (IPC; german: Internationales Paralympisches Komitee) is an international non-profit organisation and the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Paralympic Games The ...
. This table lists the top 20 nations, as ranked by number of golds, then silvers, then bronzes.


List of Winter Paralympic Games


See also

*
Summer Paralympic Games The Summer Paralympics also known as the Games of the Paralympiad, are an international multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting Sporting may refer to: *Sport, recreational games and play *Sporting (neighborhood), in Alex ...


References


External links


Paralympic Link DirectoryOfficial IPC Website
By Susana Correia in Accessible Portugal Online Magazine {{good article * Recurring sporting events established in 1976 Winter multi-sport events Quadrennial sporting events