Oksana Masters wins first cross-country gold at IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Final

By Brianna Tammaro | March 17, 2015, 1:57 p.m. (ET)
Oksana Masters competes in the 12-kilometer women's sit-ski race at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Final in Surnadal, Norway. Masters captured gold in the event, winning the first medal of the competition for the U.S. team.

SURNADAL, Norway— The first day of the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Final women’s cross-country competition was Oksana Masters’ for the taking.  Masters (Louisville, Kentucky) broke away from the pack to capture the first U.S. gold medal by 52.8 seconds in the women's 12-kilometer sit-ski race today in Surnadal, Norway.

Masters, the overall world cup leader, won the race with at time of 36:44.9, defeating Norway’s Mariann Marthinsen in second (37:37.7) and Russia’s Natalia Kocherova in third (39:14.6). The competition comes three weeks after Marthinsen overtook Masters by less than a second to win the women’s 12km sitting cross-country race at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in Asahikawa, Japan. 

“My goal in today's race was to focus on my pacing and technique,” Masters said. “This season, the 12-kilometer races have been a struggle with pacing and keeping technique once I get tired. Today was a team effort success. My skis were flying thanks to [ski technician] Dave [Mark] and my coaches were alongside the course reminding me about pacing and technique. It's always a team effort and today was a great way to end the last long distance cross-country race of the season.”

The U.S. men were led by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kansas) in fourth place and Andy Soule (Pearland, Texas) in seventh place in the 15-km sit-ski cross-country event. Cnossen finished just seven seconds behind bronze medalist Alexey Bychenok of Russia with the top three finishers coming in within a minute of each other.

The world cup in Surnadal continues on Wednesday, Mar. 18 with the biathlon sprint competition. 

For complete results from today’s cross-country races, visit Paralympic.org