Countdown to Sochi: Thirteen days
The 2014 U.S. Paralympic Team will include four athletes who won gold for the United States at a 2013 world championship. But only alpine skier Laurie Stephens won a world title in the sport that she will compete in next month at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. With 13 days until the start of the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, learn more about the '13 world champions.
Monica Bascio, cycling/Nordic skiing
After earning a pair of silver medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Monica Bascio was not quite sure how her 2013 would unfold. It turned out to be nothing short of golden. Bascio won two gold medals at her first cycling world cup event of the year in Spain in June, in the time trial and road race in her H3 category, then equaled that performance at her next world cup in Italy, giving her a huge dose of confidence heading into the International Cycling Union (UCI) Para-cycling Road World Championships. At those world championships in late August at Baie-Comeau, Quebec, Bascio again swept the two events. For these achievements, Bascio was named the United States Olympic Committee’s 2012-13 Paralympic SportsWoman of the Year. After a stint in cycling, Bascio is back to cross-country skiing, the sport in which she competed at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games. Her winter Paralympic resume is highlighted by a seventh place finish in 2006.
Allison Jones, alpine skiing/cycling
Allison Jones could have rested after a whirlwind alpine skiing season that left her ranked second in the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing World Cup standings for slalom and third in the standings for speed. Instead, she got on her bike. In addition to alpine skiing, Jones is an accomplished cyclist who medaled on the 2013 International Cycling Union Para-cycling Road World Cup circuit and won the time-trial and road races at the 2013 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup Finals and the 2013 UCI Road World Championships. Jones has competed in every summer or winter Games since 2002, where she made her debut as an alpine skier. She has seven medals heading into Sochi. Following the Paralympic Winter Games, she will make the transition back to the bike, and compete with Team USA at the track cycling world championships in Mexico in April.
Tatyana McFadden, Nordic skiing/track and field
Tatyana McFadden is used to attention on the track. But now she is gaining attention for her skills in cross-country skiing, the sport in which she will compete at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. A three-time track and field Paralympian with 10 medals to her credit, McFadden achieved history in 2013, less than a year after winning three gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. At the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, McFadden became the first woman ever to win six medals at an IPC Athletics World Championships, taking gold in the women’s 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500 and 5000 meters T54. She also won four major marathon titles in 2013.
Laurie Stephens, alpine skiing
Stephens won the women’s downhill sitting event on the opening day of competition at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, Spain. It would mark the only world title for Team USA at the event. With a time of 1:41.07, the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games downhill champion and Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games silver medalist topped Canada's Kimberley Joines (1:41.37) and Germany's Anna Schaffelhuber (1:44.17). Stephens also finished third in the super-G, an event she won in Torino. “Being a world champion does not add any pressure,” Stephens said last month. She will approach Sochi like any other competition.