Downhill skiing is a team sport in the Paralympics. Visually impaired skiers hurtle down the mountain at highway speeds, guided by another skier, who goes a few seconds ahead and calls back changes in direction and terrain via radio headset.
Visually impaired ski racer Danelle D'Aquanni Umstead says:
It is a "visually impaired team," not an athlete and their guide. Guiding is not something just anyone can do. As a guide you have to be just as committed, ski faster and also be able to turn around at any given moment to look behind you at the other athlete when at high speeds. This is not an easy task, and takes a lot of training as a team. Finding the right guide is definitely the hardest part for a visually impaired skier. To be able to trust in that person one hundred percent, and find a guide who has the same goals as you.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.