Ice sledge speed racing, a Paralympic sport

Ice sledge speed racing events at the Paralympic Winter Games

  • Örnsköldsvik, Sweden 1976 - demonstration event.
  • Geilo, Norway 1980 - 14 events, 5 countries and 26 athletes (19 men and 7 women) participated.
  • Innsbruck, Austria 1984 - 16 events, 7 countries and 40 athletes (29 men and 11 women) participated.
  • Innsbruck, Austria 1988 - 12 events, 6 countries and 24 athletes (19 men and 5 women) participated.
  • Albertville, France 1992 – No events. There were no suitable venues and, seemingly, a lack of entries for the ice sports.
  • Lillehammer, Norway 1994 - 8 events, 7 countries and 22 athletes (16 men and 6 women) participated. The events were held indoors for the first time at the 1994 Paralympics in Lillehammer.
  • Nagano, Japan 1998 - 16 events, 6 countries and 24 athletes (16 men and 8 women) participated. 

Ice sledge speed racing was dropped after the 1998 Nagano Games as hosts found the event to be very hard on ice venues making it difficult to maintain the ice rinks to use for other events.

British ice sledge speed racing medal winners

  • Innsbruck 1984
    Ken Robertson – silver in Men's 300 m Gr I
    Denise Smith – silver in Women's 100 m Gr I
    Denise Smith – silver in Women's 300 m Gr I
    Denise Smith – silver in Women's 500 m Gr I
    Ken Robertson – bronze in Men's 100 m Gr I
    Ann Peskey – bronze in Women's 100 m Gr I
    Ann Peskey – bronze in Women's 300 m Gr I
    Ann Peskey – bronze in Women's 500 m Gr I

Disclaimer -
Some information from earlier Paralympic Games (i.e. 1960-1988) such as relay and team members are not presented in the IPC source data. Therefore, final results, medal standings and derived statistics may not be complete.
Important note on the definition of participants: Only athletes that appear in the official results books in the section of final results are included in the database and counted towards participant statistics. Data for 2014 and 2016 are accurate. Statistics for previous Games are under review by the IPC.
Important note on competition partners: Competition partners eligible for medals are included in the combined participant statistics until 2014. Statistics for 2016 and beyond consider athletes with an impairment and their competition partners separately.

How ice sledge speed racing evolved

Originally, racing sledges were made of wood, later they were made of aluminium or iron.

Rules of ice sledge speed racing

Ice sledge racing at the Geilo 1980 Winter Games

Ice sledge racing at the Geilo 1980 Paralympic Winter Games

The lightweight sledges have skating blades underneath and no steering capability. The athletes propel themselves using two hand-held poles. 

Women competed over 100m, 500m and 800m, while men competed over 100m, 500m and 1500m. 

At the Geilo 1980 Winter Games the track was outdoors and laid over a school cinder running track which was common then, at later Games it was hosted on indoor skating rinks.

References

  • Ian Brittain, From Stoke Mandeville to Sochi : a history of the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. Champaign, Illinois: Common Ground Publishing
  • https://www.topendsports.com/events/paralympics/history.htm
  • https://www.topendsports.com/sport/list/ice-sledge-racing.htm
  • https://www.paralympic.org/sdms4/hira/web/index