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A Day Volunteering at Para Nordic World Cup

TeriM
March 7th, 2009, 12:59 AM
So hubby and I are currently in Whistler volunteering as race officials for the IPC World Cup. This is a race for para atheletes which is the lead up race for next years Paralympics (held a few weeks after the regular Olympics here). Today's competition (we are here four days) was a biathalon with skiing distances of 12.5 km. The atheletes are absolutely amazing!

There are three classes of skiers. They are sit-skiers, standing and blind.

These are sit skiers. There are varying degrees within all of the classes which are time adjusted to even the field within the disability level. An example would be a sit skier with full core function would have an advantage over one with just chest/shoulder function so they discount that chest/shoulder skier by a set percentage. I didn't bring out my camera until later so missed them racing and shooting but here are some shots of skiers on warm-down laps.

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These are atheletes in line for the start of the standing category. The standing category covers a large range of persons from amputees with or without prosthetics, brain injuries which impair body function, etc and the "disabilities" cover many different parts of the body.
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TeriM
March 7th, 2009, 01:02 AM
One difference from regular biathalon is that these competitors do not carry their rifles (and wow are they heavy) but they still shoot super tiny targets about the size of a quarter. Each missed target adds time to their totals.

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Canadian competitor :D.
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TeriM
March 7th, 2009, 01:05 AM
More standing atheletes.

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The final category is the visually impaired. They also range from total blindness to severly limited fields of vision. They ski with a guide who does not touch them except in specified dangerous areas of the course. They are guided using voice commands and sounds.
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TeriM
March 7th, 2009, 01:09 AM
The blind skiers also shoot with special electric rifles that emit sounds through headphones which guide the shooter towards the target.
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Dash for the finish between two visual impaired skiers and their guides.
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These RCMP guys were here (also volunteered) to present the medals so I made hubby pose with them :D.
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growler~GateKeeper
March 7th, 2009, 01:27 AM
Excellant photos Teri :thumbs up

The visually impaired skiers are amazing I can't imagine going down a hill and around a corner at any type of speed while not being able to fully see or see at all.

All the althetes have great courage :thumbs up :goodvibes: for all of them in their endevours.

hazelrunpack
March 7th, 2009, 10:05 AM
They are just amazing athletes! Makes you realize just what you can achieve when you put your mind to it!

What a great thread, TeriM!

TeriM
March 11th, 2009, 02:12 AM
They are just amazing athletes! Makes you realize just what you can achieve when you put your mind to it!

What a great thread, TeriM!

Thanks :). I was sick with a bad cold most of our holiday and during the races and was feeling kinda sorry for myself :o. Didn't take much watching these guys and I gave myself a kick in the butt and told myself to "suck it up" :D.