By Olivia Truby | March 10, 2018, 11:49 p.m. (ET)
Kendall Gretsch competes in the women's cross-country sitting 12-kilometer at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 11, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.

 

  • Kendall Gretsch wins back-to-back gold with her win in the women’s sitting 12-kilometer cross-country race
  • Dan Cnossen won his second medal of the Games, earning silver in the men’s sitting 15km cross-country event
  • Oksana Masters grabs the fifth Paralympic medal of her career with bronze

 

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – It was another three-medal day for the U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Team as Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Illinois) led the way with gold in the women’s sitting 12-kilometer cross-country competition, while Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kansas/Navy) won silver and Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky) brought home bronze at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

The team’s success comes on the heels of Saturday’s historic podium finishes in biathlon and brings the event total to six medals after two days of competition: three gold, two silver and one bronze.

It was a three-woman race in the women’s long-distance event as the trio of Gretsch, Masters and Andrea Eskau of Germany traded the top three positions throughout the intermediate splits of the race. In the end, it was Gretsch who pulled away to a substantial lead of more than 32 seconds over runner-up Eskau, while Masters rounded out the podium in third.

Gretsch continues to make a name for herself as a breakout athlete of the Games with two gold medals so far in her Paralympic debut. Masters adds to her resume to become a five-time Paralympic medalist and continues to prove her mettle as she reached the podium in spite of an injured right elbow.

After winning Team USA’s first-ever biathlon gold in Saturday’s sprint, Cnossen added another podium finish in the men’s sitting classification. The retired Navy SEAL drastically improved his finish from the same event in Sochi, where he finished in 13th place. Cnossen is a Purple Heart recipient and has a Bronze Star.

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U.S. Paralympic Nordic Team Medal Count: 6
Gold: 3 - Kendall Gretsch (cross-country 12km, biathlon sprint); Dan Cnossen (biathlon sprint)
Silver: 2 - Dan Cnossen (cross-country 15km); Oksana Masters (biathlon sprint)
Bronze: 1 - Oksana Masters (cross-country 12km)

TODAY’S CROSS-COUNTRY LONG-DISTANCE FINISHES
>1st: Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill./women’s sitting)
2nd: Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kan./Navy/men’s sitting)
3rd: Oksana Masters (Louisville, Ky./women’s sitting)
11th: Andy Soule (Kerrville, Texas/Army/men’s sitting)
22nd: Sean Halsted (Spokane, Wash./Air Force/men’s sitting)

QUOTES
Kendall Gretsch - gold
On winning two gold medals in two days…
“For cross-country, I was pretty unsure going in here. I knew that since our last world cup I had improved a lot, but you never know until you race. Just happy with how things went today and I was able to put together another good race.”

On how your body feels during all the laps…
“I was trying not to focus on how I was feeling because it’s not too great. Just trying to stay in the moment and keep going. I have a lot of people here cheering me on, so that definitely helps to get through the tough parts of the course.”

On receiving the Paralympic gold medal last night…
“It’s a very humbling experience being able to hear your anthem. Puts everything into perspective. Knowing that you’re here not just here for yourself but for your country, it’s amazing.”

Dan Cnossen - silver
On winning two medals in two days…
“I’ve already exceeded my expectations. I’m very proud to represent the U.S. Today, I dug as deep as I could and went as hard as I could, and regardless of where I ended up on the result, it is my success to go as hard as I could.”

Describing how your body feels in the final two laps…
“It’s really a mental battle. The body wants to shut down, but your brain is telling you to go hard. The coaches are screaming, and it’s such a wonderful test of will power. That’s why I love this sport.”

On paying attention to the competitors during competition…
“It’s hard to not notice that. In my mind, I’m saying ‘just focus on what I can do.’ Push myself harder, can I go harder, can I climb this hill harder. Just focusing on myself and what I can control.”

Oksana Masters - bronze
On today’s race and being on the podium...
"I’m just so happy to be on the podium. I was a little worried on the long distance considering I haven’t done intensity in three weeks. It definitely is a very painful, rude awakening to how painful the sport is. I’m happy to be on the podium.”

On the pain she’s experiencing in her elbow…
“It was extremely excruciating. It feels like there’s just a saw going at your bone 24/7, especially hammering up the climbs. I had a spill over there through the stadium, but mind over matter.”

LOOKING FORWARD
Competition resumes Monday with the men’s and women’s standing and visually impaired cross-country long-distance events. Skiing starts at 10:00 a.m. KST (Monday, March 12)/7:00 p.m. EDT (Sunday, March 11).

TUNE-IN DETAILS
NBC Olympics is providing 250 hours of coverage from PyeongChang, including 94 hours on television, which is NBC Olympics’ most ever for a Paralympic Winter Games. View the complete TV and streaming schedule here.

RESULTS
Full results from the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 can be found here. Follow U.S. Paralympics on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updated information during the event.

For more information, contact Olivia Truby, U.S. Paralympics, at Olivia.Truby@usoc.org or +1 920-428-1700.