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Special Olympics Cross Country Skiing is cross country skiing where all participants have a physical or mental disability. Special Olympics cross country skiing is a winter sport which promotes superior physical conditioning while providing a competitive environment for athletes with physical or mental disabilities. Special Olympics cross country skiing events are designed to be appropriate for athletes of every ability level. Individual events offered in cross country skiing range from the 500 meter race to the 10K. In addition to these traditional events, Special Olympics offers events for lower ability level athletes to train and compete in basic cross country skiing skills. The development of these key skills is necessary prior to advancing to longer competitive events. As in all Special Olympics sports, athletes are grouped in competition divisions according to ability level, age and gender.


Cross country skiing was first introduced at the 1977 Special Olympics World Winter Games. At the 2005 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, 350 athletes competed in cross country skiing. As of the 2005 Special Olympics Athlete Participation Report, 41,616 Special Olympics athletes compete in cross country skiing.