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Nordic Roundup: Kendall Gretsch Qualifies For Tokyo In Paratriathlon

By Alex Abrams | July 08, 2021, 10:56 a.m. (ET)

Kendall Gretsch in Slovenia in March 2021. (Photo: Dani Aravich)

Every other week we scour the web for the latest going on in the world of U.S. Para Nordic skiing. Heres what you missed!

Fab Four’ From Para Nordic Skiing Qualify For Tokyo

Kendall Gretsch will have several familiar faces with her in Tokyo this summer, and the same group could join her next year in Beijing.

Gretsch, a two-time gold medalist in Para Nordic skiing, was named Tuesday to the U.S. paratriathlon team that will compete at the Tokyo Paralympics from Aug. 28-29.

Gretsch is one of four members of the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing National and Development Teams to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics, joining Oksana Masters (Para-cycling) and Aaron Pike and Dani Aravich (Para track and field).

Gretsch was the last of the Fab Four” — as U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing referred to them on social media — to receive the good news about earning a spot in Tokyo.



Gretsch, Masters, Pike and Aravich will attempt an exhausting feat over the next few months. Theyll compete in Tokyo this summer and then quickly turn around and try to qualify in Para Nordic skiing for the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics in March.

In the meantime, theyre enjoying the moment.

Its official. Ive made my 5th Paralympic Games and will be doing all I can to get on the podium!” Pike wrote on Instagram. Happy for teammates who have made their first team and the ones Ive made the Paralympics with in the past! #teamusa



Aravich commented on Pikes post, Cant wait to be with you for this journey!

 

Oksana Masters Turns Her Attention To The ESPYS 

Oksana Masters has had plenty of reasons to celebrate lately, and there could be even more coming her way this weekend.

 

Masters is one of four athletes who are nominated for Best Athlete WithA Disability in Womens Sports at this years ESPYS, which airs on ABC at 8 p.m. EST on Saturday.

 

Masters is up against her Para-cycling teammate, Samantha Bosco, who was involved in a serious bike accident while training for the Tokyo Paralympics. Para swimmer Leanne Smith and wheelchair basketball player Becca Murray are the other nominees in the category.

 

Fans have until Friday to vote for Masters to win the ESPY award.



Masters’ well-documented journey to the Paralympics included a medical procedure two months ago. On Tuesday, she shared a video on Instagram that shows her slowly pushing herself in a wheelchair through a hospital. 

 

8 weeks ago today my journey to Tokyo included an unexpected surgery. It was the toughest decision I had to make putting my health over sports,” Masters wrote on Instagram. I havent been able to wear my prosthetic legs since & I am finally getting close to putting them on for the first time soon.

 

Masters then thanked Aaron Pike, her longtime boyfriend and her teammate on the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing National Team. She wrote that Pike has allowed her to use his wheelchair until shes able to walk again with her prosthetic legs.

 

I am so grateful to be able to share this journey with you to #Tokyo2020 and still make time to throw some axes,” Masters wrote. Things dont always go to plan. But like Aaron reminds everyday, focus on the things you can control, and the rest will fall into place.

Lillehammer 2021 Will Include Para Nordic Skiing Camp

World Para Snow Sports is expected to hold a Para Nordic skiing camp prior to the start of the inaugural World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, in January.

Lillehammer 2021, the official name of the competition, will mark the first time that the world championships for Para Nordic skiing, Para alpine skiing and Para snowboard are hosted at the same time in the same city.

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.