Skiing in Paralympic

Skiing has always been a trademark sport of winter games, Paralympic or Olympic. In fact, the first winter competition held for people with disabilities, in 1948, was an internationally competitive three-track skiing contest. Today, the Paralympic Games ski-print the slopes with two main skiing events: Nordic skiing and Alpine skiing.

In popularity, Paralympic ice sled hockey—with its aggressiveness, competitiveness and parallels to Olympic ice hockey—draws the largest crowd of spectators. Wheelchair curling slides into the lineup, adding a new element to the Games.

Paralympics Past

Roots of the Winter Paralympics trace back to Austria, where Sepp Zwicknagl, a double-leg amputee, was among the first individuals to use prostheses to ski down a slope. Other innovations followed, such as the three-track skiing method, where an athlete uses one leg and two crutches. In 1948, seventeen athletes navigated the first course designed for three-track skiing, and a year later the first Austrian Championships were held in Badgastein, Austria.

The sport moved to Grand Bornand, France, in 1974 for the first world championships in three-track skiing. The events were downhill and cross-country skiing for athletes who had low vision or amputations.

Two years later, in 1976, the first Paralympic Winter Games were conducted in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. Subsequently the Games moved to Geilo, Norway, in 1980 and then back to Austria for the 1984 events in Innsbruck. World recognition grew in 1984 when exhibition skiing events for Paralympic athletes were held during the Sarajevo Winter Olympics, and the following Paralympic Games (1988 in Innsbruck, Austria) saw 397 athletes from 22 countries compete.

In 1994, the Paralympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, added ice sled hockey, which became an immediate crowd favorite. The Lillehammer Paralympics marked the first time the Paralympic Winter Games were held in the same location as the Winter Olympics, a tradition that has continued through an agreement of cooperation between the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee.

The 1998 Nagano Winter Paralympics in Japan were the first to be held outside of Europe, and the following Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City were the first on U.S. soil, hosting 406 athletes. The 2002 Games proved that public interest in the Paralympics was solid, with 85 percent of the 250,000 available tickets sold.

Reed also the topic Paralympic: Where heroes come  with your pupils

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