Oksana Masters on the podium in Huntsville, Alabama, last April. (Photo: Casey Gibson)
Every other week we scour the web for the latest going on in the world of U.S. Para-cycling. Here’s what you missed!
Oksana Masters Dominates at Beijing Winter Paralympics
Oksana Masters managed to top herself.
In late August, the multi-sport star earned a pair of Paralympic gold medals in cycling at the Summer Games in Tokyo. She was even more dominant when she transitioned to Nordic skiing and competed at the Paralympic Winter Games, which wrapped up this past weekend in Beijing.
Masters became the most decorated U.S. Winter Paralympian of all time when she medaled in all seven events she competed in, giving her a total of 14 medals won at three Winter Paralympics.
She capped her historic run in Beijing by skiing the first leg on the U.S. cross-country mixed relay team that captured the gold on Sunday’s final day of the Winter Paralympics. NBC captured her celebration with her teammates after the race.
"WE DID IT!"@OksanaMasters is HYPED after winning gold in cross-country skiing mixed relay with her teammates. #WinterParalympics— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) March 13, 2022
📺 @USA_Network and @peacockTV
💻 https://t.co/ZFrB1c0sJq pic.twitter.com/hXE8BsKQ38
With three gold medals and four silvers, Masters became the first American to earn seven medals in a single Winter Paralympics. She now has a total of 17 medals, including the two cycling golds she won in Tokyo and the bronze she earned in rowing at her first Paralympics in London in 2012.
I still can’t believe this myself🙈😆 https://t.co/UHINVbKBFg— Oksana Masters (@OksanaMasters) March 22, 2022
As good as standing on the medal podium feels, Masters admitted on Twitter that there’s something that tops even that for her — embracing her longtime boyfriend, Aaron Pike.
Like Masters, Pike is a six-time Paralympian who competes in multiple sports. He races in both Nordic skiing and track and field.
“No gold medal will ever come close to the feels @Pikester86 makes me feel with his hugs,” Masters wrote.
Cyclists Reunite for First Team Camp of 2022
Shawn Morelli was ready to take part in her first training camp of the year with the U.S. Paralympics Cycling National Team.
Travis Gaertner felt great once he arrived at the camp and started riding last week with his teammates in Solvang, California.
Gaertner, a two-time Paralympic gold medalist in wheelchair basketball while competing for Team Canada, shared on Instagram that he rode 70 miles and climbed 5,000 feet on the first day of the camp. He also posted two photographs showing several cyclists riding on a clear day in Southern California.
Gaertner wrote that the second day of the camp went even smoother while completing 64 miles in more than 3 hours, 20 minutes.
“Day 2! One of the best rides I’ve ever had,” he wrote. “Great route and I found a groove I’ve never found for such a long ride.”
A three-time Paralympic gold medalist, Morelli posted a photo of herself on Instagram as she prepared to head to the camp. She added the comment, “On my way to the First National Team Camp of 2022 time to get it started.”
Jamie Whitmore Gives Sit Skiing A Try
As it turned out, Masters isn’t the only cyclist who can ski.
Two-time Paralympian Jamie Whitmore shared on Instagram that she recently went Nordic skiing for the first time since she was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, thanks to the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
“After day 1, I felt like I had been lifting weights all day long,” Whitmore wrote. “I fell over 6 times trying to turn and get in and out of the tracks. But I survived!”
Whitmore, a former triathlete, wrote that her background as a swimmer helped her move around on a sit ski, which has a bucket seat attached to a pair of skis. Athletes holding ski poles use their arms to propel themselves across the snow on a sit ski.
Whitmore also attempted the biathlon, which combines rifle shooting with cross-country skiing. In the biathlon, athletes must ski around a penalty loop for targets they miss during the shooting portion of the race.
“As for the biathlon portion, that rocked! My relay team won with no penalty laps,” Whitmore wrote. “I definitely love shooting! I always have!”
Whitmore admitted she did better on her second day of skiing, adding that she plans to attend more ski camps. She won a gold medal and a silver in Para-cycling at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.