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Oksana Masters’ Gold Highlights Four-Medal Day At Worlds For U.S. Para Nordic Skiers

By Alex Abrams | Jan. 18, 2022, 4:40 p.m. (ET)

Oksana Masters and Kendall Gretsch celebrating winning gold and silver in the women's 15-kilometer sitting cross country race during the World Para Snow Sports Championships on Jan. 18, 2022 in Lillehammer, Norway.

 

Oksana Masters held up her gold medal, and Kendall Gretsch smiled as she showed off her silver. Jake Adicoff and Sydney Peterson also celebrated after they earned a pair of bronzes.

Four American Para Nordic skiers competed Tuesday at the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, and all four of them made the podium.

Masters got off to a fast start and never trailed as she cruised to her first gold in Lillehammer with a time of 46 minutes, 45.2 seconds in the women’s sitting cross-country long-distance race.

Gretsch, who had already earned two golds in the biathlon at the world championships, took the silver in 47:54.9.

“There aren’t a lot of places to get speed on this course,” Masters told U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “I’m an athlete that likes to climb. That’s where I count on speed. I just wanted to ski it smooth and keep it consistent from start to finish and just capitalize where those opportunities were to find speed.”

It was the 10th world title for Masters, who’s a 10-time Paralympic medalist in Nordic skiing, cycling and rowing. She and Gretsch have accounted for six of the 10 medals earned by U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing in Lillehammer.

“It’s absolutely incredible. It feels like yesterday where I was that new athlete never thinking that I would be a world championship athlete,” Masters said. “So, to have 10 now ... is incredible and it’s a testament to our team’s hard work. It’s not just me, it’s the whole team.”

Jake Adicoff and guide Sam Wood win bronze in the men's 20-kilometer visually impaired cross country race during the World Para Snow Sports Championships on Jan. 18, 2022 in Lillehammer, Norway. 

 

Adicoff continued his comeback in Para Nordic skiing by taking the bronze in the men’s visually impaired cross-country long-distance race in 41:41.5.

Adicoff, paired with personal guide Sam Wood, was only 25.8 seconds behind gold medalist Oleg Ponomarev of the Russian Paralympic Committee (41.15.7). He finished 20.5 seconds behind silver medalist and Ponomarev’s teammate Stanislav Chokhlaev (41:21.0).

It was Adicoff’s second medal of the world championships after he won his first world title in the men’s visually impaired 12.5-kilometer race last Thursday.

The 26-year-old Sun Valley, Idaho, native has returned to racing after stepping away from the sport following his silver-medal finish at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

“Spending some time away and coming back gives you a perspective on racing. I’m remembering how much fun it really is,” Adicoff told U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “It’s a blast to be out here and to be racing well. I’m bummed we couldn’t get that top spot today, but it was a great race.”

Peterson, meanwhile, earned the bronze in the women’s standing cross-country long-distance race in 36:30.5 for her second medal during her world championship debut. 

The 19-year-old newcomer stayed toward the front of the pack and narrowly missed out on winning the gold. She finished only 13.3 seconds behind Ukraine’s Liudmyla Liashenko, who won in 36:18.6.

“It was a really fun race,” Peterson told U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “I didn’t really know what to expect coming into world championships. I just wanted to gain experience, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

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 TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Related Athletes

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Oksana Masters

Nordic Skiing
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Kendall Gretsch

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Jake Adicoff

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US Paralympics