Para World Champion Lonnie Bissonette. Photo: Viesturs Lacis
Rio de Janeiro (RWH) 40 years after the first Olympic Winter Games for athletes with disabilities were held in 1976 in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, the athletes belonging to the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation IBSF could become the first ice track athletes to be part of the Paralympic programme. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) will be deciding whether to include bobsleigh and skeleton in the Paralympic programme on 5 September, when the IPC’s Governing Board meets in Rio de Janeiro.
The two disciplines para-bobsleigh (seated) and para-skeleton would make their debut appearance at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in the Chinese capital, Beijing.
The IBSF’s para-sports committee was founded in 2010 and immediately began work on acceptance of the disciplines on the programme of the Paralympic Winter Games. In 2014, the IPC awarded the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation the status of recognised international sport federation. The first official IBSF Para-Sport World Cup was held in the 2014/2015 season, and the first IBSF Para-Sport World Championships were fought out in Park City (USA) in 2016.
In the 2016/2017 season, athletes from 16 nations (AUS, AUT, BRA, CAN, ESP, GER, GBR, ITA, LAT, NED, NOR, POL, ROU, SUI, SWE, USA) are expected to be in possession of official IBSF licences. The para-bobsleigh and para-skeleton are currently mixed gender races.
Para-skeleton athletes compete on conventional skeleton sleds, while mono bobs that are steered and braked by one athlete alone are used in para-bobsleigh. ©RWH2016

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