U.S. Paralympics names team for Nordic Skiing World Championships

By Katie Branham | Jan. 09, 2015, 12:05 p.m. (ET)
Members of the 2014 U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing Team were nominated Jan. 29, 2014
(L-R) Dan Cnossen, Omar Bermejo and Oksana Masters are three members of the U.S. team who will be competing at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships in Cable, Wisconsin.

COLORADO  SPRINGS, Colo. – U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, today announced its roster of nine U.S. athletes who will represent Team USA at the International Paralympic Committee Nordic Skiing World Championships in Cable, Wisconsin, from Jan. 23 – Feb. 1.

The championships will mark the third time the United States has hosted the event. More than 150 athletes from 20 countries are expected to compete.

“We are thrilled about the rare opportunity to race in the world championships at home,” said John Farra, high performance director for U.S. Paralympics Nordic skiing. “Central Cross-Country skiing and the Cable Organizing Committee have invested a great deal to hold two great world cups and now a world championship event, and we are thrilled to bring them a strong Team USA. “

All nine members of the U.S. team also competed at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games. Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky) and Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland) won a combined three medals to lead a revived U.S. program that tripled in size since the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

“We have a great team of athletes who have taken a very professional approach to training and building upon last season,” said U.S. Nordic head coach Eileen Carey. “We are thrilled to get another chance to test out some of our training and racing strategies, ultimately focused on improving in each race. Having the opportunity to do that on home snow is a great bonus for us.”

Masters won silver and bronze in Sochi and has already had a strong 2014-15 campaign with three medals at the world cup opener in Finland in December. Masters won gold in the 1-kilometer cross-country sprint, silver in the biathlon 6km race and silver in the 5km cross-country race.

"I raced in Cable for my first world cup, a few weeks after I started skiing in 2013,” Masters said. “It will be a good challenge for me to see what I have learned since then. And hopefully I’ll come out of it with fewer broken poles."

The world championships will also mark the competitive return to Nordic skiing for McFadden, who won silver in the 1km cross-country sprint in Sochi. McFadden went on to defend her grand slam of marathons as she returned to the roads to win the London, Boston, Chicago and New York City marathons in 2014. McFadden was slated to return to Nordic competition at the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing Nationals, but was unable to compete due to illness.

Andy Soule (Pearland, Texas) leads the men’s team as a 2010 Paralympic bronze medalist. Soule didn’t miss a single shot during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, and he was on the cusp of the podium with two fourth place finishes.

Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kansas) also looks to be a strong contender after notching two first place wins at the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing Nationals earlier this week in Midway, Utah. Cnossen won the men’s sitting short and sprint cross-country races, while he finished as the runner-up to Soule in the long distance cross-country and biathlon sprint races.

There are five active duty or retired military veterans on the U.S. roster, with two from the Army, and one each from the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy.

The championships begin on Saturday, Jan. 24 with the sprint biathlon race, and run through Monday, Feb. 1. All races are free and open to the public. For more information on the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships, visit Cable2015.org.

U.S. Roster for 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships

Women
Oksana Masters (Louisville, Ky.)
Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Md.)

Men
Omar Bermejo (Marine Corps/Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen (Navy/Topeka, Kan.)
Sean Halsted (Air Force/Rathdrum, Wash.)
Augusto Perez (East Syracuse, N.Y.)
Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minn.)
Bryan Price (Army/Belton, Mo.)
Andy Soule (Army/Pearland, Texas)