Following the huge success of the Winter Olympics, that saw Great Britain have their most successful Winter Games to date, winning five medals, their best ever haul, today sees the Winter Paralympics get underway.
The Winter Olympics also saw both Norway and Germany equal Canada’s record gold medal haul from Vancouver 2010, and more than 600 Paralympic athletes have now arrived in Pyeongchang.
This is a 24% increase in the number of stars who turned out in Sochi four years ago, with 80 medal events taking place over the next week. One of these sports is snowboarding which for 2018 has been expanded with ten medals up for grabs.
The opening ceremony takes place today with the first events taking place at midnight on Saturday with the downhill skiing at the Pyeongchang Stadium. At the Winter Olympics, there was plenty of headlines made about the relationship between the two Korean nations, with them marching under the same unified ‘Korea’ flag. However, this is something that won’t happen at the Paralympics with both nations appearing separately but 2018 does mark North Korea’s debut at the Winter Paralympics.
Team GB have taken 17 athletes to Pyeongchang in what is the country’s biggest turnout at the Winter Paralympics since 2006. The country will be competing in five sports including alpine skiing, snowboard, wheelchair curling, biathlon skiing and cross-country skiing.
The fact that Great Britain is competing in Nordic skiing events is significant as Scott Meenagh is the first Brit to do this in 20 years.
The British stars in Pyeongchang have a lot to live up to as four years ago in Sochi Team GB took home their biggest medal tally in 30 years winning six medals.
This included a gold for Kelly Gallagher and her guide Charlotte Evans in the super G. This year they are targeting between six and 12 medals, with ambitions of at least seven which would be their second-highest medal haul after Innsbruck in 1984.
Some of the athletes hoping to bring home the medals for Britain include snowboarders James Barnes-Miller and Ben Moore.
They will be taking part in the upper-limb impairment classification which was only introduced at the last Games and despite not being favourites, they have an outside chance of medalling.
In 2014 Team GB won a bronze in wheelchair curling and four of the five members of that team are back to try and go one better this time around and are skippered by Aileen Neilson.
The team are on a high after winning the recent bronze medal victory at the World Championships and take on world champions Norway this Saturday.
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