COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, announced today the 13 athletes and two guides named to the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Team. The team, which boasts eight Paralympians, will compete in biathlon and cross-country skiing at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 in South Korea from March 9-18.
“We are thrilled about the 15 athletes selected to represent Team USA at the Paralympic Winter Games,” said John Farra, director of U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “Led by our experienced athletes with proven success, we’re excited about the strong delegation we are bringing to PyeongChang and look forward to fighting for podium results in each competition.”
The team is headlined by three-time Paralympic medalist Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky). Masters has been a trailblazer in the sport since 2013, making history at Sochi 2014 when she won silver and bronze to become the first U.S. woman to win a Paralympic medal in cross-country in 20 years. She is also the first American woman to win a world title in Para Nordic skiing after capturing an unprecedented four gold medals at the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing World Championships. This will mark the fourth Games overall for the multi-sport athlete, who won a bronze medal in rowing at London 2012 and competed in cycling at Rio 2016. Heading into PyeongChang, Masters continues to dominate in the 2017-18 world cup season, having won 10 medals through the first two competitions.
On the men’s side, seven Paralympians return to the team, including Paralympic bronze medalist and seven-time world championship medalist Andy Soule (Kerrville, Texas). Soule will compete in his third Paralympics dating back to 2010, where he won the first-ever U.S. medal in the Olympic or Paralympic Winter Games in biathlon with a bronze in the men’s 2.4-kilometer race. Paralympian Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kansas), who won six medals in just eight starts during the 2016-17 world cup season, will look to continue his strong performance in the sport, while three-time Paralympian Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minnesota) and two-time Paralympian Sean Halsted (Spokane, Washington) will also compete for the first Paralympic medals of their careers. Jake Adicoff (Sun Valley, Idaho), who won two gold medals and one bronze medal in cross-country events with new guide Sawyer Kesselheim (Bozeman, Montana) at the 2017 world cup stop in PyeongChang that doubled as a Paralympic test event, returns to the second Paralympics of his career. Two additional athletes return from Sochi 2014, including Bryan Price (Leeton, Missouri) and Jeremy Wagner (Nānākuli, Hawaii).
Rounding out the team are seven athletes who will make their Paralympic debut: Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Illinois), Grace Miller (Palmer, Alaska), Ruslan Reiter (Manchester, Maine), Joy Rondeau (Granby, Colorado), Mia Zutter (Sun Prairie, Wisconsin), and guides Kesselheim and Kristina Trygstad-Saari (Bozeman, Montana).
The team features five retired U.S. military members in Cnossen (Navy), Halsted (Air Force), Price (Army), Soule (Army) and Wagner (Army).
Competition will begin on March 10 with biathlon sprint and will finish with the mixed and open relays on March 18. Athletes compete in three categories – sitting, standing and visually impaired – according to their impairment.
All Paralympic nominations are subject to the approval of the USOC and U.S. Paralympics. For more information on the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Team, visit Team USA’s PyeongChang 2018 microsite and follow U.S. Paralympics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
2018 U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Team
* Denotes U.S. Paralympian
# Denotes retired U.S. Military
*Jake Adicoff (Sun Valley, Idaho) – visually impaired
*# Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kan./Navy) – sitting
*# Sean Halsted (Spokane, Wash./Air Force) – sitting
Sawyer Kesselheim (Bozeman, Mont.) – guide
*Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minn.) – sitting
*# Bryan Price (Leeton, Mo./Army) – sitting
Ruslan Reiter (Manchester, Maine) – standing
*# Andy Soule (Kerrville, Texas/Army) – sitting
*# Jeremy Wagner (Nānākuli, Hawaii/Army) – sitting
Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.) – sitting
*Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kent.) – sitting
Grace Miller (Palmer, Alaska) – standing
Joy Rondeau (Granby, Colo.) – sitting
Kristina Trygstad-Saari (Bozeman, Mont.) – guide
Mia Zutter (Sun Prairie, Wis.) – visually impaired