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The Pyeongchang Paralympics begin on Friday and can run till March 18.

The most experienced Paralympian is hockey player Brad Bowden with five previous Games appearances to his name (four Winter, one Summer).

Slovakian skier Henrieta Farkasova yesterday won the first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Paralympics and the USA clinched a hat-trick of victories as sporting action got under way.

Unlike the Olympics opening ceremony, North and South Korea's athletes did not march together after failing to agree on which version of the unified flag to use.

The Paralympics opened on Friday with a ceremony that mixed spectacular light shows and fireworks with traditional Korean performances and modern pop music.

Russia was banned from all Paralympic competition in August 2016 after details of the country's state-sponsored doping programme first emerged - but the International Paralympic Committee has confirmed that thirty Russian athletes will compete at the Winter Paralympics this month. Bowden also plays wheelchair basketball and helped Team Canada win gold at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.

Vitaliy Lukyanenko took the gold in the men's biathlon 7.5 km sprint for the visually impaired.

The Ukrainians will be competing in biathlon, cross-country skiing and snowboarding.

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Gretsch said her victory was "pretty unexpected".

Cnossen is a former Navy Seal who lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan.

Neutral Paralympic Athlete Ekaterina Rumyantseva took gold in the women's 6km standing ahead of compatriot Anna Milenina.

80 countries from around the world are competing in the games, and Team GB are sending 17 athletes - with a target of seven medals, one more than at Sochi 2014.

He also raced together with two North Koreans - Ma Yu-chol and Kim Jong-hyon.

ParalympicsGB has sent a 17-strong team of athletes, though only snowboarders Pick, Ben Moore and James Barnes-Miller, and Kelly Gallagher attended the ceremony, with the remaining athletes due to compete on Saturday. "However, despite a day of amicable and positive discussions between the two NPCs in the Paralympic Village, the two parties have decided not to march under the same conditions as the Olympic Opening Ceremony".

On Feb. 2, the IPC invited North Korea to participate in the Winter Paralympics for the first time by offering two special spots to North Korean Nordic skiers.


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