IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships Come to Cable, WI
It is easy to take good health and unlimited mobility for granted. Occasionally, we all go through periods in which we feel less than optimal. Whether it is due to an injury or illness, any limitations to your expected activity level can make you feel unbelievably frustrated and despondent, but once it passes you gain a higher level of appreciation for good health. Memories are short, though. Once back to feeling normal again, that past feeling of gratitude quickly dissipates as your life returns to its usual routine. There are people among us, athletes to be more exact, who have suffered a debilitating sickness or injury that was so severe that they have no chance to return to a state that they once considered normal. Rather than scale back on their physical activity, these people are instead using their impediments as an opportunity to achieve a level of fitness that ranks among the world’s greatest athletes. These are the Paralympians!
As seen in the video below, Lt. Dan Cnossen (pronounced Snahs-son) is featured in his performance of the 2008 Navy Diver Challenge. In this event the lieutenant completes 43 pull-ups, 108 push-ups, and 31 8-count bodybuilders in less than 8 minutes time. I am not aware of the history or significance of this particular Navy competition, but I do have an appreciation for the incredible amount of upper body strength and endurance that is required to perform this feat. In September 2009 he lost both of his legs just above his knees in an explosion while serving as a Navy SEAL in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Lt. Dan Cnossen is now using his powerful strength and determination to his advantage as a member of the US Nordic Paralympics team by participating in both the biathlon and cross-country skiing events in the Paralympics World Championship this month in Cable, WI. He is one of many great athletes whose strength and tenacity have overcome unbelievable obstacles in order to participate in this event.
A similar search for other such athletes – Andy Soule, Aaron Pike, Oksana Master, Tatyana McFadden, and many other team members-yields an inspiring collection of stories and videos that should get even the most avowed couch potato off their backside and into an active lifestyle. Whatever the impediment, there is nothing that can hold these athletes back from participating in the activities they love.
The Nordic skiing events consist of various classifications and distances for both cross country skiing and the biathlon. Although there are various “Sport classes” within each category, the three primary classifications for the Paralympics are for skiers with leg impairments, skiers with arm impairments, and skiers with visual impairment. In short, skiers with leg impairments must power a specially designed sit-ski device with their upper body; skiers with arm impairment must pole with only a single pole; and visually impaired skiers are aided by a sight guide. They compete on a standard cross country ski trail with tight corners and plenty of up and down hills. If it’s snowing or too cold, too bad, these athletes compete regardless.
For only the third time in their history, the Paralympics Nordic World Championships are coming to North America. The event will take place in Cable, Wisconsin on the world-famous Telemark lodge ski trails, and run from January 24th to February 1st. As is the case with other Nordic skiing competitions, the Europeans appear to be dominant, although the US has the capability to medal in any single event.
Impressions Inc. is proud to a sponsor for this amazing event. Our hopes are for great snow conditions, and best wishes to all the participating athletes.
*Featured Image courtesy of IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships