Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blind skiing: a team sport

This is not "later that day," but life and training sometimes get in the way of blog-writing. That's ok though. Here's my first "explanatory" post.

I say blind skiing is a team sport because blind athletes ski with a guide who normally skies a little in front of them (no further than 3 to 5 metres ideally). The best guide-athlete teams are completely in sync with each other, that is, the athlete follows the guide's technique and movement exactly. This is very difficult to acheive and is only learned through countless hours of practice together. The McKeever brothers are the best example I've seen of guide-athelte sync.

Photo courtesy of George Tuira, posted with the permission of Brian and Robin McKeever

The guide's job is to act as the athlete's eyes. He or she calls out terrain changes, turns and any other useful information that the athlete would need to make it around the course quickly yet safely. This of course means that trust is the main component in the success of a guide-athlete team.

In blind skiing and biathlon, the guide receives the same recognition as the athlete, that is to say, if the athlete wins a medal at the Paralympic Games, so does the guide. This is the ultimate reason that blind skiing and bithlon are team sports.

I hope that was a helpful explanation of how guiding works. Until next time, good afternoon from Ottawa!

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome, and I think that a blind person who is able to practice sports has a highg courage.