Oksana Masters competes in the women's 15-kilometer sitting cross-country race at 2021 World Para Snow Sports Championships on Jan. 18, 2022 in Lillehammer, Norway.
Oksana Masters had some ground to make up as she headed down the stretch of the women’s sitting cross-country sprint finals on Saturday. Instead of comfortably in the lead, the 10-time Paralympic medalist trailed Belarus’ Valiantsina Shyts as they approached the finish line.
Masters used a late push to pass Shyts and win her third consecutive title in the cross-country sprint at the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway.
In doing so, the American multi-sport star earned her second gold medal in Lillehammer and 11th world title. Masters has also earned two silvers and two bronzes at these world championships to solidify her place as one of the favorites heading into the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 in March.
“It feels incredible. It doesn’t feel that long ago that I was barely making finals in sprint or I couldn’t finish a sprint without falling or breaking a pole,” Masters, who is also a Paralympic medalist in rowing and cyling, told U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “To be able to have a third consecutive world championship title in this event is just incredible.”
Masters’ dramatic finish highlighted a productive day for the Americans, who’ll wrap up the last few events of the world championships on Sunday.
Sydney Peterson and Jake Adicoff each earned a silver in their respective cross-country sprints on Saturday. In addition, alpine skier Laurie Stephens made the podium after earning the bronze in the women’s sitting slalom.
Peterson overcame some struggles in her two qualifying races earlier in the day to secure a spot in the women’s standing cross-country sprint finals. She then took the silver at 3:03.6. It was the second silver in Lillehammer for the 19-year-old Peterson.
“I had some mishaps the first two races this morning, so I’m glad that things worked out for the finals,” Peterson told U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “I’m pretty excited that was a really fun race. It will be fun to continue racing.”
Adicoff, paired with personal guide Sam Wood, earned the silver in the men’s visually impaired cross-country sprint. Adicoff medaled in all three cross-country events he competed in at the world championships.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Adicoff, a silver medalist at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympics, told U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “… We’re pretty happy with the result, and it’s super fun racing out there.”
Stephens, meanwhile, used a pair of solid runs to finish with an overall time of 2:12.32 and earn the bronze in the women’s sitting slalom. The six-time Paralympic medalist edged Canada’s Katie Combaluzier by less than three seconds for third place, giving Stephens two medals at the world championships. She also won gold in the women’s sitting giant slalom.
Paralympic medalists Mike Schultz and Evan Strong had the best finish for the U.S. on the final day of snowboarding events in Lillehammer. They combined to place seventh in the team snowboardcross competition after suffering a few falls during the day.
The Americans earned eight Para snowboard medals at the world championships.
“Overall, it was an amazing performance for the team, but also there was just great camaraderie among the team in general,” said Jessica Smith, associate director of U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding. “I think everyone came together and capitalized on the hill when they could. It’s only going to get better as we get closer to Beijing.”