- Oksana Masters wins her second Paralympic gold medal of the Games in the middle-distance cross-country race.
- Jake Adicoff and guide Sawyer Kesselheim, and Dan Cnossen take home silver in middle-distance cross-country.
- The U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Team’s medal count rises to 16.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – On the final day of individual competition at Alpensia Biathlon Center, Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky) won the gold medal in the women’s sitting class of the middle-distance cross-country race. Jake Adicoff (Sun Valley, Idaho) and guide Sawyer Kesselheim (Bozeman, Montana), and Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kansas) each secured the silver medal in their respective classes.
En route to the second Paralympic gold medal of her career, Masters dominated throughout the entire 5-kilometer course, finishing more than 10 seconds faster than second-place finisher Andrea Eskau of Germany. Masters finished individual competition with five medals, including two gold, two silver and one bronze. Masters will close out her Paralympic experience in PyeongChang as Team USA’s flag bearer at the Closing Ceremony on March 18.
Cnossen skied to the silver medal in the men’s sitting class of the middle-distance cross-country race, completing the 7.5km course in a time of 22:33.7. He extended his Paralympic medal streak as he took home his sixth medal of the Games, successfully securing a medal in every individual competition. Cnossen served as a Navy SEAL and was awarded both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Valor from the Secretary of the Navy for his service in combat.
Adicoff won the first Paralympic medal of his career as he finished second in the men’s visually impaired competition. Guided by Sawyer Kesselheim, the pair gradually improved their position throughout the race and covered the 10km course in a time of 24:31.3. Adicoff had a brief taste of the podium earlier in the week during the cross-country sprint when he was originally awarded bronze, but was relegated to fourth due to a technique violation.
Today’s three medals bring the U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Team’s medal haul to 16 with two relays remaining in competition.
U.S. Paralympic Nordic Team Medal Count: 16
Gold: 6 - Kendall Gretsch (long-distance cross-country, biathlon sprint); Oksana Masters (middle-distance cross-country, cross-country sprint); Dan Cnossen (biathlon sprint); Andy Soule (cross-country sprint)
Silver: 7 - Dan Cnossen (middle-distance cross-country, individual biathlon, long-distance biathlon; long-distance cross-country); Oksana Masters (individual biathlon, biathlon sprint); Jake Adicoff/Sawyer Kesselheim (middle-distance cross-country)
Bronze: 3 - Dan Cnossen (cross-country sprint); Oksana Masters (long-distance cross-country); Andy Soule (individual biathlon)
TODAY’S MIDDLE-DISTANCE CROSS-COUNTRY FINISHES
1st: Oksana Masters (Louisville, Ky./women’s sitting)
2nd: Jake Adicoff (Sun Valley, Idaho/men’s visually impaired)/Sawyer Kesselheim (Bozeman, Mont./guide)
2nd: Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kan./Navy/men’s sitting)
5th: Andy Soule (Kerrville, Texas/Army/men’s sitting)
6th: Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill./women’s sitting)
9th: Mia Zutter (Sun Prairie, Wis./women’s visually impaired)/Kristina Trygstad-Saari (Bozeman, Mont./guide)
18th: Grace Miller (Palmer, Alaska/women’s standing)
19th: Joy Rondeau (Granby, Colo./women’s sitting)
23rd: Sean Halsted (Spokane, Wash./Air Force/men’s sitting)
26th: Bryan Price (Leeton, Mo./Army/men’s sitting)
30th: Jeremy Wagner (Nānākuli, Hawaii/Army/men’s sitting)
On today’s gold medal…
“I have no idea. I am absolutely truly speechless on this performance. I was a little bit nervous because I didn’t get my full warm up in and I was yawning at the start line thinking I was a little too relaxed. I have no idea what just happened.”
On the joy she feels during competition...
“It’s so hard to put into words. I thrive and love the athlete lifestyle of eat, sleep and train. To put yourself to the ultimate test on that start line and seeing all your hard work come through. And not just that, it’s a whole team effort. Seeing how our amazing team between our wax tech, nutritionist, sport psych, everything just comes together at the finish line. That’s really what it’s all about. It’s that moment coming together. It’s not a one-person show. It definitely takes a village and we have an incredible team.”
On the performance today...
“The skiing was absolutely awesome. We had great skis by our staff. I got a little bit sick a couple days ago, so going into this race I told myself to stay relaxed the first part and see if we could keep adding throughout the whole race. It ended up working out, I’m really happy about that.”
On what he sees in Jake’s skiing…
“He was really smart today, thinking about how he’s going to pace the race. Taking it out not too hard and then building throughout. Really using the skis to our advantage and skiing smooth.”
On how the competition went...
“This is my favorite race that we do. It’s 20-21 minutes of effort, or thereabouts, just all out as hard as you can go. I left it all out on the course and was edged out by five seconds. I’m really happy for Mr. Sin, my South Korean competitor. He earned the gold medal.”
On the mental and physical stamina it takes to get through the Games…
“We’re at about 60 kilometers of racing and that doesn’t include the warm up and cool down. I’m very fatigued at this point. I came into the Games just trying to take it one race at a time and give it my all - each and every race - and not think too far ahead. Just focus on the here and now, and soak up the moment and be in the present.”
Competition concludes tomorrow with the mixed and open relays. Skiing starts at 10:00 a.m. KST (Sunday, March 18)/9:00 p.m. EDT (Saturday, March 17).
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.