Understanding Para-alpine Skiing Classification
Rather than doing probably what I should be doing this past week, I’ve been working on para-alpine skiing classification articles on English Wikipedia. The goal of this work is to support a trip to Colorado where I will cover para-alpine skiing for Wikinews, with the goal of leveraging this experience to get media accreditation for the Winter Paralympics/Olympics. Why work on classification articles? Because if you want to understand Paralympic sport, one of the most important things to understand. The fastest person does not always win. People who “look” very different are sometimes in the same class. There are reasons why and once you understand them, it makes watching the sport that much more interesting.
The following set of articles were created or improved as part of these efforts:
- Para-alpine skiing
- Para-alpine skiing classification
- Para-Nordic skiing classification
The biggest challenge as an editor writing these is finding sources. Most of the ones I can find repeat variations of the same one or two line definitions provided by the IPC rules. Some of this involves highly technical jargon. What does buttock sensibility mean? I can’t begin to think of a way to phrase this. It appears in several papers I’ve found on para-skiing, but no explanation as if everyone knows what this means. There is a fantastic wealth of materials out there for how to play sports and coach sports. There might actually be more of these in most sports than histories or biographies of these sports. For para-skiing? Not so much and what does exist talks about skiing techniques not based on classification but on disability type: Skiers with amputations have these issues. Skiers with cerebral palsy have these issues. Another issue for para-alpine skiing is the sport was created for people with amputations. This group writes a lot less history about their sport compared to people who use wheelchairs. This make getting historical information on events, on classifications, on the sport much more difficult as a whole.
Anyway, the above articles (which you can improve) should explain what classification is, what types of disability people in specific classes have, what equipment they use, issues they may have with skiing, what competitions skiers in these classes have been eligible to compete in.