Source: Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service (Jeon Han)
After an awe-inspiring 10 days of competition, The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games have come to a close! The 12th Paralympic Winter Games were record-breaking, with 567 athletes from 49 delegations, including 44% more female athletes than 2014. These athletes competed in 80 medal events in six sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice hockey, snowboard and wheelchair curling. 26 of the 49 competing delegations brought home medals, and attendance was at an all-time high with over 340,000 tickets sold! Congratulations to all the athletes who competed - these results are astounding!
The games were full of action-packed events, including incredible team and individual successes. Here are 6 of the top highlights of the games!
1. A Historic First
For the first time in Winter Paralympics history, North Korea participated in the games! The president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said that this act of participation would “send out a very strong message of bringing peace through sport.”
2. Cross-Country Successes
The 2018 Games saw some great feats when it came to cross-country skiing. Oksana Masters of Team USA won her first two Paralympic gold medals, despite suffering an elbow injury three weeks prior to the games. Masters, who was born in the Ukraine with birth defects attributed to the Chernobyl nuclear accident, has competed in multiple sports, in both the summer and winter games.
South Korean skier Eui Hyun Sin won gold in men’s cross-country 7.5km sitting, bringing home South Korea’s first gold medal in a Paralympic Winter Games! Earlier in the games, Sin took bronze in men’s 15km sitting.
3. The Gold Medal Game
Source: Connor Mah
Hockey fans were on the edge of their seats for the Gold Medal Para Ice Hockey game. The match up? An age-old rivalry! Team USA and Team Canada battled it out in their first Paralympic gold medal game face-off! In overtime, Team USA was victorious, putting the icing on their Paralympics-winning cake with their 13th gold and 36th total medal of the games.
4. The New Sport On The Block
Para snowboard is still relatively new to the games, having made its Paralympic debut at Sochi in 2014. This year, Australian Sean Pollard competed in his first Paralympic Winter Games in the snowboard cross and banked slalom disciplines. In 2014, Pollard was the victim of a shark attack while he was surfing, which left him physically impaired. He first tried snowboarding in 2015 and continues to surf using specially fitted paddles.
Dutch snowboarder Bibian Mentel-Spee competed in this year’s games just two months after undergoing treatment for cancer. She’s no stranger to getting back on the board, though! In 2002 she was back to snowboarding four months after the amputation of her leg. Fast forward to 2018 and Mentel-Spee is going home with two golds, maintaining her title in snowboard cross and adding banked slalom to her belt!
5. Wheelchair Curling
Wheelchair curling, which made its Paralympic debut at Torino in 2006, is one of two mixed team sports in the games (para ice hockey being the other). In wheelchair curling, players do not sweep, and they deliver the stone with a hooked stick, rather than their hand. The gold medal wheelchair curling game against Norway brought China their very first Paralympics Winter Games medal!
6. A Guaranteed Partnership Until 2032
Source: Kim Youngjoon (eun_gong)
The games wrapped up with some wonderful news: the future of the Paralympic Games is secure! The International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee have signed an agreement establishing a partnership until at least 2032, guaranteeing each Olympic Games host city will also hold the Paralympic Games. Great news to wrap up an even better Paralympic Games!
The Presagia Sports Team would like to take a moment to wish all the athletes who traveled to PyeongChang for the Paralympics congratulations! These are just 6 of the numerous highlights of the Games, and we encourage you to check out some of the other event results! Here are a few interesting articles for your reading pleasure: