Ski sports for para-athletes became popular after the end of World War II, when injured ex-servicemen returned to their favorite sports. The first known championship for skiers with impairments occurred in 1948.
Today, skiiers use equipment adapted to their needs, such as a sit-ski designed for people in wheelchairs to race. Athletes with visual impairment use an audio guide. Paralympic athletes compete in six events in alpine skiing: downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G, super combined, and snowboard cross, which is new to the 2014 Sochi Games.
The Rules of the Game
Each event has it’s own set of rules. Slalom and Giant Slalom are technical events in which athletes must ski down a slope while turning to pass through gates. Slalom has a higher number of turns over a shorter course than giant slalom. Each athlete completes two runs on different courses, and the times are added together. Athletes are disqualified if they miss a gate.