Oksana Masters Dominates with Three World Titles to Start Para Nordic Skiing World Championships

By Olivia Truby | Feb. 18, 2019, 4:59 p.m. (ET)

Oksana Masters races to three world titles to kick off the 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Prince George, British Columbia. 

  • Oksana Masters wins three world titles in as many days to open the 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Prince George, British Columbia
  • Team USA soars to eight medals, with four silvers and one bronze coming from Dan Cnossen and Kendall Gretsch
  • U.S. athletes will compete in three additional events before concluding the world championships on Feb. 24

Prince George, British Columbia - Two-time Paralympic champion Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky) has proven her resilience and determination once again, racing to three world titles in as many days to begin the 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Prince George, British Columbia.

Masters, who has had two surgeries on her elbow since the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, defended her two Paralympic titles in the women’s sitting class by racing to the top of the world championships podium in the cross-country sprint and middle-distance cross-country, and additionally picked up a third gold in the middle-distance biathlon.

Two-time Paralympic champion Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Illinois) has continued to shine on the international stage, winning a trio of medals in the women’s sitting class, including two silvers in the middle-distance biathlon and middle-distance cross-country, and one bronze in the cross-country sprint, to kick off the world championships.

Six-time Paralympic medalist Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kansas) has raced to a pair of second-place finishes in Prince George, with silver in the men’s sitting class of the middle-distance cross-country and cross-country sprint.

The U.S. will compete next at the world championships in the biathlon sprint on Feb. 20, followed by individual biathlon on Feb. 21 and long-distance cross-country on Feb. 24.

Oksana Masters
On starting the event with three world titles…
“To be able to start the first three days of world championships with three world titles is absolutely amazing. I don’t want to say I was starting to lose faith in myself, but I think I was nervous of not knowing what to expect, especially since I haven’t raced all of the races at the world cups, so to do three races in a row was going to be very challenging. The middle-distance biathlon was a complete surprise because it was very close between Kendall Gretsch and I, and it definitely came down to the last shot. It just goes to show that anything can happen in biathlon and you have to keep your head in it. You never know what can happen."

On the keys to finding such success at the world championships…
The keys to success has been our team here. It’s the strong team behind you - you’re only as good as the team you have. It’s not just my success, but also Kendall Gretsch, Dan Cnossen and Aaron Pike’s success. That’s the secret weapon."

On the status of her elbow…
"My elbow is holding up really well. Right before we left, I had a really good couple weeks of physical therapy in Bozeman, Montana. It’s doing well. Taking it one day at a time."

On Team USA’s success so far...
It feels incredible to be up on the podium with my teammate Kendall Gretsch. It’s awesome. I want more U.S. athletes to be doing this sport - I love it and it’s the best sport. To be able to share a podium and a world championships with your teammates is even better."

U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing Team Medal Count: 8
Gold: 3 - Oksana Masters (middle-distance biathlon, middle-distance cross-country, cross-country sprint)
Silver: 4 - Kendall Gretsch (middle-distance biathlon, middle-distance cross-country); Dan Cnossen (middle-distance cross-country, cross-country sprint)
Bronze: 1 - Kendall Gretsch (cross-country sprint)

Looking Forward
The U.S. will compete next at the world championships in the biathlon sprint (Feb. 20), followed by individual biathlon (Feb. 21) and long-distance cross-country (Feb. 24).

Follow Along
Follow U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for additional updates. For live results, visit the Team USA Medal Tracker as well as the IPC website. The world championships are also available on live stream via OlympicChannel.com.