In-depth look at the Winter Paralympic Games
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In-depth look at the Winter Paralympic Games

November 17, 2019


Athletes will be competing in a total of six
sports, including alpine skiing, biathlon and wheelchair curling. The basic rules are similar to that of the
Olympics, but slightly different for the Paralympic games. Lee Ji-won explains further. Alpine skiing, biathlon, ice hockey,… these
games might sound familiar, but at the Paralympics they are a little bit different… For the Paralympics ice hockey, the athletes’
use sleds and they have two short sticks instead of one long one. Wheelchair curlers also use a special stick
so they can easily and accurately push the stones from their wheelchairs while a teammate
helps keep the wheelchair stable. In the Paralympics curling, there aren’t any
sweepers, which makes the delivery even more important. But there are some disciplines with much bigger
differences in the equipment and events. The alpine skiing, biathlon and cross-country
skiing have three classifications of games,… standing, sitting and visually impaired. Standing skiing is for athletes with impairments
in their arms or legs or even both. Sitting skiing is for those with lower-limb
impairment. Sit-skiers use a ski that has a chair built
on top, and use outriggers, special forearm crutches with small skis on the end, to help
keep their balance. But the biggest differences can be seen in
the races for the visually impaired skiers. These skiers compete in pairs with a “guide”
who skis ahead of the athletes and gives verbal cues through a headset to become the eyes
of the Paralympic athlete. A special aid is also essential for the visually
impaired biathlon athletes. After skiing with their guides, they use specially
designed electronic rifles, which use sound to help the athletes aim at the targets. The closer the aim is to the target, the louder
the beeping sound will ring in their headsets. But simply finishing the race first doesn’t
guarantee a gold medal in the Paralympics skiing events. Results are calculated based on the degree
of an athlete’s disability so that skiers with different impairments can compete on
the same level and get a fair result. Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.

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