This article has been updated to include results from Thursday's road cycling and evening track races, as well as Tatyana McFadden's selection as recipient of the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award.
After competing at the 2012 London Paralympics in rowing and 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympic in skiing, Oksana Masters is tripling up after qualifying for the 2016 Rio Summer Paralympics in handcycling. “It’s going to be a good challenge and I’m really looking forward to being able to represent the U.S. Paralympic team and to be able to represent it in more than one sport," she said.
For the third time ever, the IPC World Championships are being held in the U.S. and kick off Friday with the opening ceremony in Cable, Wis. Team USA is ready, according to coach Eileen Carey. “We are thrilled to get another chance to test out some of our training and racing strategies," she says. "Having the opportunity to do that on home snow is a great bonus for us.”
While the three medals U.S. Paralympics Nordic won in Sochi are still fresh, the team's moving on and doing everything it can with the money it has to be a leading force in Paralympic cross-country skiing and biathlon. "Medals are good, but they’re not critical," director John Farra explains. "I think they’re going to be more critical in Pyeongchang.”
James Upham had a good run in Sochi: his Paralympic skiers won three medals - the first by U.S. women in 20 years - and before that at the Olympics Susan Dunklee, a college skier he had recruited to be a biathlete, turned in the best performance ever by a U.S. woman. Now he's returning to his home of Maine as an assistant coach at Bates College.
The U.S. Paralympic Nordic skiing team closed out the 2014 Paralympics on a high on Sunday as Oksana Masters won bronze in the women’s 5 k sit ski cross-country race at the Laura Cross-Country Ski Center. “I am in complete shock and amazement,” says Masters, the most successful U.S. Paralympic cross-country female.
Tatyana McFadden rose to the occasion yet again to notch the second U.S. silver medal in cross-country skiing at the Sochi Paralympics, becoming the second woman to do so in the last 20 years. Just 0.1 seconds back from gold, the Russian-born McFadden medaled in front of both her adoptive and birth mothers.
Oksana Masters won silver in the women’s 12 kilometer cross country race in the second day of competition at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi. The medal ends a 20 year medal drought for U.S. women’s paralympic cross country skiing. Masters reacted her medal saying, “I really have to thank my training from rowing because it prepared me well for skiing; I am so happy right now.”
With less than a year of nordic experience, Tatyana McFadden -- a three-time Summer Paralympian with 10 Paralympic medals and a marathon Grand Slam to her name -- has her heart set on Sochi. "I have to just be relaxed and go with the transitions," she says. "When it comes time for me to put my skis on the snow, I have to remember everything I've learned ... and ski as fast as I can and hopefully make people proud.”