What Sports Are In The Paralympics? It Has Fewer Than The Winter Games
As Olympic competitors from around the globe battle for gold in PyeongChang, South Korea, Paralympic athletes also are gearing up for their competitions next month. While many sports in the 2018 Winter Paralympics overlap with those featured in the Olympics, there actually are far fewer winter Paralympic sports. You're sure to see some impressive athletic feats in the March competitions regardless.
The Winter Paralympics kick off March 9 in PyeongChang with 80 total competitions in para Alpine skiing, para cross-country skiing, para ice hockey, para snowboarding, para biathlon, and wheelchair curling. Because there are six sports, the Paralympics last 10 days (compared to the Winter Olympics, which features 15 sports spread over 17 days).
A total of 670 Paralympic athletes will compete in Korea this year. That's a 24 percent increase from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. There's also a 44 percent increase in the number of female athletes competing, according to the Paralympic Games' official website.
The slogan for the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games is "Passion. Connected" and the official mascot is Bandabi, an Asiatic black bear. The website explains that "the bear is symbolic of strong will and courage" and is a symbol of Korea's Gangwon Province. The competitions commence after an eight-day torch relay and an opening ceremony on March 9, then wrap up with a closing ceremony on March 18.
Alpine skiing downhill races, biathlon, ice hockey, and curling are the first competitions, beginning on March 10. They're followed by cross-country skiing March 11 and snowboarding March 12 (check here for the full schedule). Team USA is competing in every sport except curling.
Across the 80 Paralympic events, 133 sets of medals will be awarded in PyeongChang. The medals are based on the same design of the Winter Olympic medals: the medal itself mimics the look of wood and the lanyard has a snowflake pattern. "The Paralympic Winter Games medals for PyeongChang 2018 are a symbol of equality, creativity, culture and passion," Lee Hee-beom, the competition's organizer, said on the website. "The work that has gone into the design and manufacturing of the medals has been world class, and we are all looking forward to the moment when the first medal will be awarded to the world's best Paralympic athletes next year."
Ticket sales for the 2018 Winter Olympics started off slow, and sales for Paralympics tickets were no different. At the end of October just 4.3 percent of available tickets to the 2018 Paralympics had been sold. "When the International Paralympic Committee President (Andrew Parsons) visited PyeongChang earlier this month, he told us not to be too concerned about the ticket sales," Lee told South Korean reporters in October. "He said many people purchase tickets when the event actually starts, so we're not too concerned about it at this moment."
Anyone hoping to travel to the Paralympic Games from the United States can purchase tickets via CoSport's website. No tickets are available for the opening or closing ceremonies, para Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon, or snowboarding, but curling and ice hockey tickets are still up for grabs.
If you're tuning into the 2018 Paralympic Games at home: Keep in mind that South Korea is a whopping 14 hours ahead of the East Coast and 17 hours ahead of the West Coast, and plan your TV viewing accordingly.