(L-R) Kendall Gretsch, Oksana Masters and Natalia Kocherova (Russia) pose after the women's 6K sprint finals at the Para Nordic skiing world cup opener on Dec. 11, 2021 in Canmore, Alberta.
Kendall Gretsch and Oksana Masters picked up quite a few souvenirs during their time in Canada.
The American teammates closed out the Para Nordic skiing world cup opener in Canmore, Alberta, this past weekend by each winning three medals in biathlon, giving both athletes six total medals over eight days of competition in cross-country skiing and biathlon.
Aaron Pike, meanwhile, used a strong showing in the biathlon to guarantee that he wouldn’t leave Alberta empty-handed either.
The competition was spread over eight days, and as is often the case Gretsch and Masters took turns trading spots in the front of the women’s sit ski races.
Gretsch was the big winner in biathlon, taking first the 12.5-kilometer race on Thursday, then finishing second in the 6K sprint on Saturday before adding another gold medal on Sunday.
Masters, meanwhile, won Saturday’s race while finishing second on Thursday and Sunday.
Masters won three gold medals during the cross-country portion of the world cup, while Gretsch won two silvers and a bronze in cross-country.
Both skiers won a pair of Paralympic gold medals in 2018, and added more gold medals at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 — Masters as a cyclist, and Gretsch in paratriathlon. They are expected to be top contenders at the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
Pike, Masters’ longtime boyfriend and teammate on the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing national team, picked up a pair of bronze medals in the biathlon.
Pike took third in the men’s sitting 12.5-km biathlon on Thursday, finishing in 38:54.8 — behind Russian teammates Ivan Golubkov and Danila Britik, respectively.
Two days later, Pike earned the bronze in the men’s sitting 6K sprint race after again finishing behind Golubkov and Britik, respectively.
“Fun week of racing at the @albertaworldcup always exciting to get back on snow and race again!” Pike wrote on Instagram. “The @usparanordicski team is looking strong after a month of skiing #roadtobeijing #teamusa.”
Athletes with the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing national and development teams will return to Bozeman, Montana, to continue training before heading to the inaugural World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, in January.