Colorado athletes have a prominent place in the winter Paralympics, which start Friday, March 7, in Sochi, Russia. About 34 athletes who train at the National Sports Center for the Disabled, in Winter Park, Colo., will compete in Sochi, Erik Petersen, the center's competition director, says. Many are skiers, both Nordic and alpine.

"They're doing some amazing things. You look at when they come down the hill. If you've ever been to Winter Park and seen the sitskiers come down underneath the lift, you're going 'Oh my gosh, they're going extremely fast,'" Petersen says.

One of the athletes Petersen is most excited to see compete is Alana Nichols, who also competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and spoke to Colorado Matters about her experience training for the summer games. Additionally, University of Denver student Jamie Stanton is making his Olympic debut as a standing skier.

Twenty years ago was the first time the Paralympics followed the Olympics on the same terrain, in Lillehammer, Norway.