Scandinavians led the way in becoming the first to win medals at both a summer and a winter Paralympic Games!

It is perhaps not too surprising that all of the athletes named below as being the first in their impairment groups to win a medal at both a summer and a winter Paralympic Games all come from Scandinavian countries. After all, Scandinavia is the home of skiing and it was the Scandinavians who were the prime movers behind the instigation of the first winter Paralympic Games in Örnsköldsvik in Sweden in 1976. Below is a list of athletes who, according to my research, were the first in their impairment category to win a medal at both a summer and a winter Paralympic Games. They are broken down by impairment category in the order that the impairment categories were added to the winter Paralympic Games programme. The years next to each impairment category heading denote the year in which that impairment category first took part in a winter or a summer Paralympic Games.

Amputees (First Games: Winter – 1976, Summer – 1976)

Raimo Hiiri (FIN) – Cross Country Skiing and Athletics

Örnsköldsvik 1976 (1 gold, 2 bronze)          Toronto 1976 (1 gold, 3 bronze)

Blind and Visually Impaired (First Games: Winter – 1976, Summer – 1976)

There were actually four athletes who managed to complete this feat in 1976. They include the only woman in the whole list – Reidun Laengen of Norway.

Terje Hansen (NOR) – Cross Country Skiing and Athletics

Örnsköldsvik 1976 (1 gold, 2 bronze)                        Toronto 1976 (1 silver)

                                                                                                     New York (1 gold)

Jarle Johnsen (NOR) – Cross Country Skiing and Athletics

 Örnsköldsvik 1976 (2 gd, 1 silv)     Toronto 1976 (1 gd, 1 silv,  1 bze)

                                                                        Arnhem 1980 (1 gold)

Martti Juntunen (FIN) – Cross Country Skiing and Athletics

Örnsköldsvik 1976 (1 silver)                           Toronto 1976 (1 silver)

Geilo 1980 (1 bronze)                                    

Innsbruck 1984 (3 silver)

Reidun Laengen (NOR) – Cross Country Skiing and Athletics

Örnsköldsvik 1976 (1 gold, 2 silver)              Toronto 1976 (1 gold)

Spinal Cord Injury (First Games: Winter – 1980, Summer – 1960)

Two athletes managed to complete this feat when spinal cord injured athletes competed for the first time in a winter Paralympic Games in Geilo, Norway in 1980, both having won summer Paralympic Games medals in earlier summer Games.

Rolf Johansson (SWE) – Ice Sledge Speed Racing, Ice Sledge Hockey, Wheelchair Curling, Wheelchair Basketball and Athletics

Geilo 1980 (2 bronze)                         Heidelberg 1972 (1 bronze)

Lillehammer 1994 (1 gold)                 Toronto 1976 (1 gold)

Nagano 1988 (1 bronze)                      Arnhem 1980 (1 silver)

Torino 2006 (1 bronze)                       Stoke Mandeville 1984 (1 silver, 1 bronze)

                                                                       Seoul 1988 (1 silver)

Veikko Puputti (FIN) – Ice Sledge Speed Racing and Archery

Geilo 1980 (2 gold)                             Toronto 1976 (1 silver)

Innsbruck 1984 (3 gold)

Cerebral Palsied (First Games: Winter – 1984, Summer – 1980)

Siw Kristin Vestengen (NOR) – Cross Country Skiing and Athletics

Tignes 1992 (1 silver, 1 bronze)          Seoul 1988 (2 gold, 1 silver)

Lillehammer 1994 (1 gold, 1 silver)

Nagano 1998 (2 bronze)

Salt Lake 2002 (1 gold, 3 bronze)

Les Autres (First Games: Winter – 1984, Summer – 1984)

Jouko Grip (FIN) – Cross Country Skiing, Biathlon and Athletics

Geilo 1980* (3 gold)                                       New York 1984 (2 gold)

Innsbruck 1984 (3 gold)

Innsbruck 1988 (1 gold, 3 silver)

Tignes 1992 (2 gold, 1 silver)

Lillehammer 1994 (1 gold, 1 silver)

*Competed in the ‘spinal cord injury category’        

Intellectually Disabled (First Games: Winter – 1998*, Summer – 1992)     

*Demonstration events were held in Tignes 1992 and Lillehammer 1994

Due to being banned from the Paralympic Games following events in Sydney 2000 intellectually disabled athletes have only competed in a winter Paralympic Games with full medal events once in Nagano 1998 where they competed in three male and three female cross country events. No intellectually disabled athlete has yet, therefore, managed to win a medal at a summer and a winter Paralympic Games.

NB. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, but given the poor state of the records and results for early Paralympic Games it may be that there are others that should be added to the above list, but have been omitted from original results.

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