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Military and Veteran Athletes Prepare for Winter Paralympic Games

  • Published
  • By David Vergun
  • DOD News

The XIII Winter Paralympic Games begin Friday in Beijing and the nearby areas of Yanqing and Zhangjiakou.

The international event, which runs through March 13, features 78 events in five sports: Alpine skiing, 30 events; Nordic skiing, including the biathlon, 18 events, and cross-country skiing, 20 events; para ice hockey, one event; snowboarding, eight events; and wheelchair curling, one event. 

Military athletes competing this year for Team USA are: 

  • Alpine skiing: David Williams, Army
  • Nordic skiing: Daniel Cnossen, Navy, and Josh Sweeney, Marines
  • Sled hockey: Jen Lee, Army; Joseph Woodke, Marines; Josh Misiewicz, Marines; Ralph DeQuebec, Marines; Rico Roman, Army; and Travis Dodson, Marines
  • Snowboarding: Michael Spivey, Marines; and Tyler Burdick, Navy
  • Wheelchair curling: Stephen Emt, Army 

More About Paralympic Winter Games 

The Winter Paralympics is open to athletes with physical disabilities, including mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy. They’re held every four years following the Winter Olympic Games; they’re held in the same city that hosts the Olympic Games.  

The origin of the Winter Paralympics is similar to that of the Summer Paralympics. Injured soldiers returning from World War II pursued sports as an avenue to healing. Dr. Ludwig Guttmann organized sports competitions between British convalescent hospitals began in 1948 and continued them until 1960 when parallel Paralympic Games were held in Rome after the 1960 Summer Olympics. Over 400 wheelchair athletes competed at the 1960 Paralympic Games, which became known as the first Paralympics.  

The Winter Paralympics began in 1976 in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. They were the first to feature athletes other than those in wheelchairs.