Para cross-country skiing competitions (also known as Nordic skiing or cross-country skiing) are open to athletes with a physical disability in the upper and lower limbs (standing), a disability in the lower limbs or trunk (sitting) or with a visual impairment (visually impaired). In the case of a lower limb disability, a sled mounted on cross-country skis (sit-ski) is used instead of skis.
The sport first appeared at theParalympic Winter Games Örnsköldsvik 1976, Sweden. Athletes used the classic technique in all cross-country distances until the introduction of free technique skating in Innsbruck in 1984. Since then, the events have been divided into two separate specialities: classic and free technique.
Both men and women compete in the three speciality distances: long, middle and short distances (from a minimum of 2.5 km to a maximum of 20 km) or in the relay, either classic or free technique.
Norway, Finland, Russia, Germany and Canada occupy the top five positions in the overall medal table for nations.