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Nordic Roundup Looking Back On Veterans Day With Dan Cnossen

By Alex Abrams | Nov. 24, 2020, 4:06 p.m. (ET)

Dan Cnossen celebrates at the 2018 Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. 

Every other Tuesday we scour the web for the latest going on in the world of U.S. Para Nordic skiing. Here’s what you missed!

Dan Cnossen, Navy SEAL Turned Nordic Skier, Recognized On Veterans Day

Dan Cnossen, a two-time Paralympian and a former U.S. Navy SEAL, was recognized on Veterans Day by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. 

Cnossen earned six medals at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, including a gold medal in biathlon. Before that, he was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor for his service in combat. 

In a video, Cnossen shared his story about how he was introduced to Nordic skiing while going through physical therapy at Walter Reed Medical Center. He was invited to a sports camp in San Diego, where he had been stationed while in the Navy, and he took it as an opportunity to see friends and visit the city.

“I was approached at this sports camp by coaches for the Nordic team, for the Paralympics, and they asked if I was interested in trying cross country and biathlon,” Cnossen said. “I actually thought biathlon was running and swimming, but they corrected me and said it’s cross country skiing and shooting.”

Cnossen also discussed what it has meant to represent the U.S. as a military veteran in the Paralympics.

Cnossen later talked about the similarities between serving in the Navy and being a Paralympian, including the discipline and teamwork that both require, as well as the need to follow orders. 

U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing Forms New Partnership To Develop Athletes

U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing is constantly looking for ways to grow the sport and introduce athletes with physical impairments to Nordic skiing.

A new partnership will help with those goals.

The Challenged Athletes Foundation and U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing recently announced a partnership to develop adaptive athletes from their first time skiing to the elite levels of Nordic skiing and biathlon. 

Wilson Dippo, who co-founded the first Paralympic sports club in Idaho, will oversee CAF’s winter sports programs in his new position as the development coach. In his role, he’ll serve as a mentor for CAF athletes training and competing in Nordic skiing.

“We are excited about this coaching collaboration as a way to reimagine developing athletes in Para Nordic skiing,” said Eileen Carey, director of U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “Wilson will be providing access to high-quality coaching to athletes where they live. We hope this model will be a blueprint for developing athletes in other regions throughout the country.

The CAF provides support, equipment and opportunities for individuals with impairments, ranging from first-time athletes to Paralympians.

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Paralympic Alpine Skiing is excited like everyone else for winter to arrive. It posted a video on social media with the comment that it was “heading into winter” like Team USA stars skiers Oksana Masters and Aaron Pike.

Pike responded, “If you want to be the best, you have to train with the BEST.” 

IPC Announces Modified Testing Program

The International Olympic Committee announced on Nov. 13 that in light of the continued challenges presented by COVID-19 they’ll be replacing the scheduled test events for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 with an adapted sports testing program. Nordic combined and biathlon are among the sports affected.

USOPC Announces College Sports Sustainability Think Tank

Acknowledging the importance of college athletics as a pipeline to Olympic and Paralympic sports, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced the formation of the USOPC College Sports Sustainability Think Tank to continue to foster those opportunities.

“Our country’s unique college system is critical not just to the health of our Olympic and Paralympic teams, but to the longstanding vitality of sports across our country,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland.

Athletes, executives, and others from the world of Olympic and Paralympic sports will serve on groups focused on three areas: partnerships, sport economics and regulations. The think tank will first convene in late November and will formally present its first recommendations to the USOPC Collegiate Advisory Council in the first quarter of 2021.

Alex Abrams

Alex Abrams has written about Olympic sports for more than 15 years, including as a reporter for major newspapers in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a freelance contributor to USParaNordicSkiing.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. 

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Dan Cnossen

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