Virtus’ Call to End Exclusion in Winter Paralympic Sports: Bids for 2030 Winter Paralympics Expansion

Calls for Skiing Community to Join Efforts to End Long-Standing Exclusion; Forms International Federation for Skiers with Intellectual Impairments

Virtus, the International Sports Federation for athletes with intellectual impairment, has officially submitted a bid to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for the inclusion of Nordic and Alpine skiing in the 2030 Winter Paralympic Games.

This bid represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to provide equal opportunities for athletes with intellectual impairment on the global stage,” remarked Virtus President Marc Truffaut. 

The project to secure inclusion in the Winter Paralympics began even before the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games and Virtus has been working closely with the International Paralympic Committee and, more recently, the Federation of International Skiing (FIS) which is the new International Federation of the sport selected by the IPC.

In 2013, IPC affirmed its commitment to the inclusion of skiers with an intellectual impairment and in 2017 the IPC membership mandated greater inclusion across both summer and Winter Games, however to date, this has not been achieved.

Whilst Virtus had hoped the bid for inclusion in the Winter Games would come from FIS, it became apparent that the only way to secure equality would be to submit a bid directly from Virtus.  Despite challenges, including initial discouragement from a direct submission, Virtus remains steadfast in its pursuit of inclusion. In submitting the bid Virtus also has now formed an International Federation to promote and support the rights of skiers with intellectual impairments.

Our priority is to ensure that athletes with intellectual impairment have the opportunity to compete in Nordic and Alpine skiing at the highest level,” Truffaut emphasised. 

It has been 15 years since athletes with intellectual impairment have been reincluded in the Summer Paralympic Games yet there remains barriers to their inclusion into the Winter Paralympic Games. It’s now time, for Virtus athletes to take their rightful place alongside other elite athletes with physical and visual impairments in the Winter Paralympic Games. We cannot wait another decade for this to happen.

We call upon IPC and FIS to support our bid and recognize the importance of expanding Paralympic opportunities for athletes with intellectual impairment. We call on FIS to be the IF for all skiers. We call on all people who value inclusion and fairness, especially those in the skiing community, to join Virtus and lend their voice to bringing skiers with intellectual impairment into the Winter Paralympic Games of 2030.