- Dan Cnossen claims his third medal in as many starts, securing silver in the men’s sitting middle-distance biathlon
- Andy Soule secures the bronze medal in the men’s sitting class of middle-distance biathlon
- Team USA brings its event medal total to eight following four days of competition
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kansas) won his third medal in as many starts at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as he took home silver on Tuesday. Cnossen was joined on the podium of the middle-distance biathlon sitting competition by U.S. teammate Andy Soule (Kerrville, Texas) with bronze on the fourth day of competition at Alpensia Biathlon Center.
This was a historic day for the U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Team as Team USA celebrated two men on the podium in a biathlon event for the first time in Olympic or Paralympic history. Both men are military veterans. Cnossen served as a Navy SEAL who was awarded both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Valor from the Secretary of the Navy for his service in combat. Following the September 11 attacks, Soule decided to serve his country in the Army and was deployed to Afghanistan where he sustained his injury.
Cnossen was in outstanding form both in the range and on his skis. Despite winds gusting up to 15 mph, Cnossen shot clean, making all 20 targets during his four visits to the range. Soule, who only missed two of the 20 shots, grabbed the second Paralympic medal of his career, adding to his biathlon bronze from Vancouver 2010.
On the women’s side, Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Illinois) finished just off the podium in fourth place in the sitting event. Gretsch overcame numerous challenges on the course, including three falls, to finish within 12 seconds of the podium. Gretsch claimed two gold medals earlier in the week in cross-country and biathlon.
U.S. Paralympic Nordic Team Medal Count: 8
Gold: 3 - Kendall Gretsch (cross-country 12km, biathlon sprint); Dan Cnossen (biathlon sprint)
Silver: 3 - Dan Cnossen (biathlon middle-distance, cross-country 15km); Oksana Masters (biathlon sprint)
Bronze: 2 - Andy Soule (biathlon middle-distance); Oksana Masters (cross-country 12km)
TODAY’S BIATHLON MIDDLE-DISTANCE FINISHES
2nd: Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kan./Navy/men’s sitting)
3rd: Andy Soule (Kerrville, Texas/Army/men’s sitting)
4th: Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill./women’s sitting)
7th: Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minn./men’s sitting)
11th: Ruslan Reiter (Manchester, Maine/men’s standing)
14th: Sean Halsted (Spokane, Wash./Air Force/men’s sitting)
16th: Bryan Price (Leeton, Mo./Army/men’s sitting)
Dan Cnossen - silver
On how helpful it was to shoot clean...
“For me, personally, this was such an important breakthrough: to shoot 20 for 20, especially on the last shooting stage. I’ve had some mental blocks in the past where I overthink things or get a little anxious, so I really took my time, especially on the last two shots. I wanted to get my heart rate down and make sure the wind wasn’t blowing. It feels really good to overcome this mental hurdle. I just wanted to see what I could do today, and have my own race, and not worry about what other people are doing.”
On how this race felt…
“This race feels especially good because I have my teammate, Andy, on the podium. I knew he was going to have a good race. I’m really proud and happy to see him on the podium. For me personally, this was a big breakthrough. This was only the second time I’ve ever shot clean in a four-stage, 20-shot race, and to do it at the Paralympics, I feel like I really overcame a big mental hurdle. For me, this means a lot that I shot well under pressure.”
Andy Soule - bronze
On what it means to secure his second Paralympic medal...
“I’m really happy for our whole team, to see how much success we’re having. I think it’s a testament to great coaching, great support, great staff. Lots of great work being done behind the scenes by so many people that you don’t even see who are out here long before we even arrive at the venue. It’s a great group of athletes. I’m so happy to be a teammate with these guys.”
On how he came back after missing two shots…
“I was really skiing at an aggressive pace. I was struggling to hold it together at the range those last two shootings. When I missed those two, I also knew that I had seen other people missing. I knew a miss or two wasn’t going to necessarily put me out of it. I knew I just needed to get back up, set the same aggressive pace, and maybe back it off just a little earlier on the next lap to make sure I get the shots. It came together just fine.”
Competition resumes Wednesday with the men’s and women’s cross-country sprint. Skiing starts at 10:00 a.m. KST (Wednesday, March 14)/7:00 p.m. EDT (Tuesday, March 13).
NBC Olympics is providing 250 hours of coverage from PyeongChang, including 94 hours on television, which is NBC Olympics’ most ever for a Paralympic Winter Games. View the complete TV and streaming schedule here.
Full results from the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 can be found here. Follow U.S. Paralympics on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updated information during the event.