Soule takes cross-country bronze in IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships

By Katie Branham | Jan. 25, 2015, 1:48 p.m. (ET)

CABLE, Wis. – Andy Soule won his second medal of the IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships as he finished third in the men’s sitting long distance -country race on Sunday.

Today’s bronze-medal finish marks the first time that Soule (Pearland, Texas) has medaled in cross-country against international competition. Russia’s Aleksandr Davidovich finished first, while Maksym Yarovyi of Ukraine took second.

Soule not only faced stiff competition from the field, but also overcame an unfortunate collision with a spectator on the course during the final lap of the race. Soule was able to recover quickly and maintained a 71 second gap over his closest competitor.

“It was a really good race, the course was really fast,” Soule said. “I just focused on breaking the race down into each area I needed to think about like skiing the straights fast and getting up the hills quickly and efficiently, and it paid off. I didn’t really worry about where I was in the standings; I just skied my race and had fun with it. It feels great to have two medals.”

“This was a really amazing day for Andy [Soule] because he has never won a medal in the cross-country race,” said U.S. Paralympics Nordic skiing head coach Eileen Carey. “I think this is a good indication of his improvement in ski speed this year. He paced the race really well, and was making gains on the athletes in front of him the whole time. It was a really exciting race to watch.”

Soule’s teammate Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minnesota) had his best result in international competition as he finished in fifth place.

“Aaron had an awesome race,” Carey said. “This is a really hilly course, and he’s been working on his climbing technique. This was the best result he has had, and we’re excited to see all of his work pay off.”

In the women’s sitting race, Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky) was just shy of a podium finish. The three-time Paralympic medalist finished fourth, with only three seconds separating her from the podium. Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland), an 11-time Paralympic medalist in track and field and Nordic skiing, finished eighth.

Other U.S. finishers included Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnoosen (Topkea, Kansas) in eighth, Sean Halstead (Rathdrum, Idaho) in 10th and Bryan Price (Belton, Missouri) in 11th.

Competitors have a break from training tomorrow, and resumes on Jan. 27 with the middle-distance biathlon race. A live stream of the competition is available at USParalympics.org. Complete results and competition schedules are available at Paralympic.org.