2022 Winter Paralympics: What to Expect

Two weeks ago, the 2022 Winter Olympics ended in Beijing, China. The Olympic flame was distinguished and the many athletes returned home after an intensive two weeks. But while these Olympic games came to a close, a new round of athletes are set to compete for their chance for gold. The 23rd Winter Paralympics opened on March 4th, 2022, in Beijing, with many US contenders vying for the spotlight.

The first Summer Paralympics took place in Rome, Italy, in 1960. Since then, they have occurred every four years alongside the recurring Olympics. The difference between the Olympics and the Paralympics is that the Paralympics features athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities. The games ensure that disabled athletes are able to compete fairly and equally for their chance at the podium.

The games are centered around 6 broad disability categories: intellectual disability, amputee, wheelchair, cerebral palsy, vision impairment, and “others.” During the Paralympics, there are 78 events within the span of six sports. These sports include alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, sled hockey, biathlon, and wheelchair curling. For the first time, NBC will be streaming the Paralympics for viewers at home. The program will also be shown on Peacock, USA Network, and the Olympic Channel, with the opening and closing ceremonies being aired on USA Network. 

On February 19th, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced the 2022 US Paralympic Team, with 67 members. The USA has prominent competitors in all 6 sports, from a span of 27 states! Over the past several Winter Paralympics, the USA team has been established as leaders in alpine skiing and para ice hockey. These athletes range from the ages of 17 to 66. Some notable athletes to look out for include Brittani Coury, who is looking to medal at her second winter games in banked slalom and snowboardcross, and Zach Miller, a newcomer with cerebral palsy also competing in banked slalom and snowboardcross. Another Paralympic veteran to watch is Oksana Masters as the most decorated Paralympic US athlete, with 10 medals! She will compete in biathlon and nordic skiing.

If you are interested in supporting these US athletes, make sure to tune in to watch the games throughout the next week! The opening ceremony took place on Friday, March 4th, and the competition began on March 5th. Replays can be found on USA Network! The Paralympics will end on Sunday, March 13th. If you are interested in learning more about the US athletes, visit nbcolympics.com.