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Previous Winter Games

black and white photos of female skier in action
Viv Martin wins New Zealand’s first gold medal at Innsbruck 1984

The Paralympic Winter Games are held on a four yearly cycle immediately following their respective Winter Olympics. They are held in the same host city and venues as the Winter Olympics.

The first Paralympic Winter Games was held in 1976 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. New Zealand first competed in the second Paralympic Winter Games: Geilo 1980.

There are now 6 winter Paralympic sports. Paralympians have represented New Zealand Para alpine skiing and Para snowboarding. To date, no one has represented New Zealand in Para biathlon, Para cross-country, Para ice hockey or Wheelchair curling at the Winter Paralympics.

The next Paralympic Winter Games will be held in Milano Cortina, Italy from 6 March through to 15 March 2026.

New Zealand Medal History – Paralympic Winter Games

New Zealand has competed at 12 Winter Paralympics, winning a total of 35 medals, including 17 golds. The biggest medal haul for New Zealand was 6, achieved three times from 1994 to 2002.
2022Beijing, China1124
2018PyeongChang, South Korea1023
2014Sochi, Russia0101
2010Vancouver, Canada1001
2006Torino, Italy0000
2002Salt Lake City, USA4026
1998Nagano, Japan4116
1994Lillehammer, Norway3036
1992Albertville, France2002
1988Innsbruck, Austria0101
1984Innsbruck, Austria1315
1980Geilo, Norway0000
1976Ornskoldsvik, SwedenNew Zealand did not attend

History of the Paralympic Winter Games

Winter sports for disabled athletes gradually developed after World War II, as large numbers of injured soldiers and civilians tried to return to their skiing activities. Early pioneers experimented with skiing using prostheses.

It was in the 1970s that multi-disability skiing competitions started. In 1974, the first world championships were held in Grand Bornand in France, which featured Alpine (Downhill) and Nordic (Cross-Country) skiing for amputee and visually impaired athletes.

The first Paralympic Winter Games were held in 1976 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. There were competitions in Alpine and Nordic Skiing for amputee and visually impaired athletes, and a demonstration event in Sledge Racing.

The success of the first Games led to the second Winter Paralympics in 1980 in Geilo, Norway where New Zealand entered its first Disabled Ski Team.

By the third Paralympic Winter Games in 1984, which were held at Innsbruck, the New Zealand Disabled Ski Team were winning the New Zealand’s first medals in international skiing competition.

From its inception in 1976, these teams were managed and sent to the Paralympic Games by Paralympics New Zealand. With the support of High Performance Sport New Zealand, Paralympics New Zealand and Snow Sports NZ now work very closely to maximise opportunities for the New Zealand team at the Paralympic Winter Games.

The Games have now grown with the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games being the largest Winter Games to date, with 567 athletes from 49 delegations competing across 80 medals events in six Para sports.

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