Events: 20 (9 men, 9 women, 2 mixed – Short, middle, and long distance races in three classifications with two mixed relays)
Classification: Standing: For athletes which will compete standing, across classes LW2-9. This is for athletes with impairment in one or both legs, often with amputations or with impairments in arms. Athletes in the LW2 classification will ski with one ski while most others will use two. Those with arm impairments will ski without poles (LW5/7) or with just one pole (LW 6/8).
Sitting: Athletes will have an impairment affecting their legs, across classes LW10-12. LW10 athletes have no or minimal trunk stability, LW 11 athletes have good abilities in their upper trunk but limited control in their lower trunk and hips, LW12 athletes are similar to the LW1-4 athletes and have normal or only slightly decreased trunk function with leg impairments.
Vision Impaired: Athletes are either completely blind or have severe vision impairment (at most a restricted visual field of less than 40 degrees or low visual acuity). These athletes will ski with a guide in front giving visual cues to the athlete with a headset.
Venue: Alpensia Resort
Athlete Quota: 170 (100 men, 70 women)
International Federation: World Para Nordic Skiing (IPC)
With both biathlon and cross-country containing many of the same athletes, it would be reasonable to expect that similar patterns would hold in cross-country. But that is not what has happened, while the NPA team will be dangerous here, they are not nearly as dominant in the cross-country discipline, leading to some variety and tight tussles.
Austrian Carina Edlinger leads the way in the women’s visually impaired classification, just getting enough results to win the world cup. She will face a tough challenge from NPA skier Mikhalina Lysova, a favorite in the biathlon, looking to win more gold.
One classification where NPA is dominant in the women’s standing, with Ekaterina Rumyantseva coming in fresh off a world cup win. Her team-mate Anna Milennia will be the only likely challenger to stop Rumyantseva who was the run-away world cup winner.
It is a three athlete race in the women’s sitting with Norwegian Brigit Skarstein coming into PyeongChang 2018 with the world cup title. But Skarstein will face tough competition with NPA skier Marta Zainullina just behind in second and American Oksana Masters also close by in third.
Swede Zebastian Modin is a strong favorite in the men’s visually impaired classification having cruised to the world cup win. The next nearest competitors are a pair of NPA skiers with Stanislav Chokhlaev in second and Oleg Ponomarev just behind him, but both will have to be at their best to overcome Modin in Korea.
The NPA is dominant in the men’s standing with three topping the world cup standings and big favorites for the medals. Rushan Minnegulov leads the trio with team-mates Vladislav Lekomtsev and Aleksandr Pronkov close behind.
Ivan Golubkov of NPA clearly leads in the men’s sitting and it will take a phenomenal effort to dislodge the world cup winner. Team-mate Aleksandr Davidovich could potentially be one to watch along with American Andrew Soule, but Golubkov has a strong chance of winning plenty of medals here.