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U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing Names 2018/2019 National Team

(Press release)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, today announced the eleven athletes (six men, five women) named to the 2018-19 U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing National Team. All eleven athletes selected to the team competed at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

“Each athlete on the national team played a huge role in Team USA’s success in PyeongChang,” said Eileen Carey, director of U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “It’s an incredibly exciting time for the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing program, and we are eager to continue developing our program as we get ready for the upcoming season and look ahead to Beijing 2022.”

The team is headlined by Paralympic gold medalists Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky), Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Illinois) and Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kansas). Overcoming an injury to her right elbow during the Paralympic Winter Games, Masters won five medals (two gold, two silver and one bronze) in biathlon and cross-country events, leaving PyeongChang as the most decorated female athlete on the team and in the history of the Para Nordic program.

Dan Cnossen and Kendall Gretsch made history in the biathlon sprint by becoming the first Americans to win biathlon gold in Paralympic or Olympic Winter Games history. On top of their performances in the biathlon sprint, Cnossen medaled in every cross-country and biathlon event he entered en route to winning one gold, four silver and one bronze medals, while Gretsch also claimed gold in the 12-kilometer cross-country competition.

Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minnesota), who shot clean in the individual biathlon in PyeongChang, returns to the national team after recording three top-10 finishes at the Paralympic Winter games.

Seven additional Paralympians were named to the development team: Sean Halsted (Spokane, Washington), Grace Miller (Palmer, Alaska), Bryan Price (Leeton, Missouri), Ruslan Reiter (Manchester, Maine), Joy Rondeau (Granby, Colorado), Mia Zutter (Sun Prairie, Wisconsin) and Jeremy Wagner (Nānākuli, Hawaii).

The team features four retired U.S. military members in Cnossen (Navy), Halsted (Air Force), Price (Army) and Wagner (Army).

The U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing program is coming off a record-breaking performance in PyeongChang. Improving from three medals won in Sochi, Team USA took home an unprecedented 16 medals, including six gold, seven silver and three bronze. Of the 16, nine were secured in cross-country races and seven were in biathlon events.

2018-19 U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing National Teams

*Denotes U.S. Paralympian in Nordic skiing

# Denotes retired U.S. Military

A Team

*#Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kan./Navy) – sitting

*Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.) – sitting

*Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kent.) – sitting

B Team

*Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minn.) – sitting

Development Team

*#Sean Halsted (Spokane, Wash./Air Force) – sitting

*Grace Miller (Palmer, Alaska) – standing

*#Bryan Price (Leeton, Mo./Army) – sitting

*Ruslan Reiter (Manchester, Maine) – standing

*Joy Rondeau (Granby, Colo.) – sitting

*#Jeremy Wagner (Nānākuli, Hawaii/Army) – sitting

*Mia Zutter (Sun Prairie, Wis.) – visually impaired

Eileen Carey Promoted to U.S. Para-Nordic Director

Eileen Carey coaches U.S. Para-Nordic athlete – and now Paralympic gold medalist – Oksana Masters on the rollerski treadmill in Lake Placid, New York, back in 2014.

After the departure of U.S. Para-Nordic High Performance Director John Farra for Para-Triathlon, the organization has promoted Head Coach Eileen Carey to the director position.

Carey was our 2018 Coach of the Year, and oversaw a team that won a whopping 16 medals at the 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

“I’m thrilled to be taking on this new level of responsibility to help further develop and strengthen the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing program,” Carey said in a U.S. Paralympics press release. “I’m grateful to have worked with John Farra over the past four years to bring the program to the level it is at today, and I look forward to continuing to strengthen the program as we begin preparing for the upcoming season and Beijing 2022.”

Carey served as head coach for four years. Previously, she coordinated the adaptive sport programs for the New England Nordic Ski Association and coached at the Maine Winter Sports Center. Recently, she has been working closely with the para-nordic team’s top athletes in Bozeman, Montana.

“On one hand, I love getting into the details of what might make someone a fraction of a percent faster,” Carey told FasterSkier in April. “I love the process of breaking down a performance into parts and working with athletes to problem solve how to make a small element better.  So much of that is about failure, modification, and trying again.  The potential gains are so small, but so are the gaps from 4th to 1st and every once in a while something sticks and that is incredibly motivating for me.”

In her new position, according to the press release, Carey will be responsible for developing the squad’s high performance plans, supervising national team staff, working on athlete identification and development strategies, and overseeing national- level as well as and international-level competitions and events held in the U.S. A World Cup competition in the United States is on the IPC’s draft calendar for the 2020-2021 season.

Brian McKeever to Lead Canadian Paralympic Team in Opening Ceremony

Brian McKeever (l) and guide Erik Carleton after winning gold in the 20 k visually impaired freestyle at 2015 IPC World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway. (Photo: CCC)

(Press release)

McKeever, a 13-time medallist is competing in his fifth Paralympic Games, will ski in PyeongChang with guides Graham Nishikawa and Russell Kennedy

Opening Ceremony is March 9 at 8 p.m. local time / 6 a.m. ET airing live
on CBC/Radio-Canada across Canada

PYEONGCHANG (March 8, 2018) – Brian McKeever (Canmore, AB) will lead the Canadian Paralympic Team into the Opening Ceremony as flag bearer at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced today.

“Brian is one of those athletes we want all of Canada to know who he is and what he has been able to accomplish as a Canadian Paralympian,” said Todd Nicholson, Chef de Mission for the Canadian Paralympic Team in PyeongChang. “He has been a fantastic ambassador for Canadian sport on the global stage for so long and continues to show that our Paralympic athletes from Canada are some of the best in the world. He is very well-deserving of this great honour, and will do the Canadian Paralympic Team proud as he leads us into the Opening Ceremony. Congratulations Brian!”

McKeever possesses the most gold medals of any Canadian Winter Paralympian with 10, to go along with two silver medals and one bronze. The Para nordic skier made his Paralympic debut at Salt Lake City 2002, where he won two gold medals and one silver medal in the visually impaired category. He subsequently was named flag bearer for Canada at the Closing Ceremony. The 38-year-old, who will be skiing with guides Graham Nishikawa (Whitehorse, YK) and Russell Kennedy (Canmore, AB) in PyeongChang, is making his fifth Paralympic Games appearance.

“It’s always an honour to represent Canada, and to do that at the Paralympics is why I have kept going with my career,” McKeever said. “As athletes we live our lives in four-year chunks and I’m thrilled to be here. To be able to lead Canada into the Opening Ceremony is a wonderful thing. There are so many great athletes on this team who have done amazing things in their respective sports, and many others who will capture the world’s attention at these Games as well. It is a privilege to lead these great Canadians into the stadium and it is a responsibility I won’t take lightly!”

The Opening Ceremony will take place Friday March 9 at 8 p.m. local time in PyeongChang. CBC will kick off the festivities with a 5:30 a.m. ET pre-show, and both CBC and Radio-Canada will air the Opening Ceremony live starting at 6 a.m. ET / 3 a.m. PT. It will also be live streamed on CBC and Radio-Canada’s websites, as well as Facebook Live, Twitter Live, and Paralympic.ca.

About the Canadian Paralympic Team in PyeongChang: Canada is represented by 55 athletes in five sports at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, taking place March 9-18. #greatnessisrare

See also: Canada’s 2018 Paralympic Nordic Team

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CCC Nominates 14 to PyeongChang Paralympic Team

Brittany Hudak of the Canadian Para-Nordic World Cup Team racing at a 2016 IPC Asian Cup in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Photo: CCC)

(Press release)

CANMORE, Alta. (February 12, 2018) – Canada is planning to send a high-powered group of cross-country skiers and biathletes to the start line in PyeongChang with a focus on contributing to the nation’s medal count at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada announced on Monday.

A total of 14 of the nation’s best Para-Nordic skiers and biathletes, 10 men and four women, have been nominated for selection to don the maple leaf race suit next month in PyeongChang. The 12 athletes and two guides will include a group of Paralympic, World Championship and World Cup medal winners led by 13-time Paralympic medallist Brian McKeever (Canmore, Alta.) along with his guides Graham Nishikawa (Whitehorse, YK), and Russell Kennedy (Canmore, Alta.). Kennedy is also representing Canada at the Olympics this week for the first time in his career.

Two other Paralympic medallists, Chris Klebl (Canmore, Alta.), and Mark Arendz (Hartsville, P.E.I.) are also returning to Canada’s Paralympic Team with a focus on skiing back onto the podium. Klebl captured a gold medal in the men’s 10-kilometre sit ski event in Sochi 2014, while Arendz celebrated two podium finishes in biathlon.

“This is a well-balanced team of veterans and rookies, and an exciting time within the team as we have never had this type of depth. I look forward to seeing everyone achieve their goals at the Games, whether it is celebrating personal bests or medals,” said Arendz. “Personally, my focus is on the key factors I have control over that will drive performance. It is all about the preparation because the athlete who is best prepared is the one who achieves success. I get very excited to be a part of the Games and to see the power that sport can bring to the world.”

They will be joined by a stellar group of international medallists including: second-time Paralympian Brittany Hudak (Prince Albert, Sask.); along with Collin Cameron (Sudbury, Ont.); and Emily Young (North Vancouver) who are making their first trip to the Paralympic Games.

“Being named to the Paralympic team is truly an honour,” said Young, a former wrestler, who joined the team at the beginning of this quadrennial where she has developed into a medal contender. “I never expected myself to end up in a winter sport, and to have found myself amongst such an amazing team, I couldn’t be prouder to be wearing the maple leaf with them on our suits. I’ve had a lot of catching up to do these last three years, but it has been worth every second.”

Two rising stars in Canada’s Para-Nordic circles, 16-year-old Natalie Wilkie (Salmon Arm, B.C.); and Derek Zaplotinsky (Smokey Lake, Alta.) will be keen to make their mark in PyeongChang. Rounding out the team will be Yves Bourque (Bécancour, Que.); Sébastien Fortier (Quebec City, Que.); Ethan Hess (Pemberton, B.C.); and Paralympic basketball star Cindy Ouellet (Quebec City) who will hit the start line for the first time at a Winter Games.

“This is an experienced group of athletes who have delivered under the most intense pressure at major international competitions, and are on a mission for medals in PyeongChang,” said Mike Edwards, Para-Nordic high-performance director, Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada. “Depth is critical to mounting a podium attack, and we have a nice blend of veterans and NextGen athletes capable of putting the maple leaf on the Paralympic podium at the nordic venue.”

“I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to the athletes who are now part of Team Canada for the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games,” said the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. “Canada has performed admirably in the past in the Para-Nordic event, and I think we can expect more great things from the athletes named to Team Canada today. I know for a fact that I, and all of Canada, will be rooting for them!”

NOMINATED PARA-NORDIC SKIERS AND BIATHLETES:

  • Mark Arendz (Hartsville, PEI)
  • Yves Bourque (Becancour, QC)
  • Collin Cameron (Sudbury, ON)
  • Sebastien Fortier (Quebec City, QC)
  • Ethan Hess (Pemberton, BC)
  • Brittany Hudak (Prince Albert, SK)
  • Russell Kennedy (GUIDE) (Canmore, AB)
  • Christopher Klebl (Canmore, AB)
  • Brian McKeever (Canmore, AB)
  • Graham Nishikawa (GUIDE) (Whitehorse, YK)
  • Cindy Ouellet (Quebec City, QC)
  • Natalie Wilkie (Salmon Arm, BC)
  • Emily Young (North Vancouver, BC)
  • Derek Zaplotinsky (Smokey Lake, AB)

The 14 athletes have been nominated for selection to the Canadian Paralympic Committee and will be subject to a final review. The Canadian Paralympic Committee will officially announce the Canadian Paralympic Team later this month.

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Oberried IPC World Cup Recap

American Aaron Pike racing to fourth in the men’s cross-country sitting sprint race at the IPC World Cup on Jan. 23 in Oberried, Germany. (Photo: US Paralympics Nordic)

From Jan. 20-28, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) held its second series of World Cup races in Obberied, Germany. Three biathlon competitions, as well as three cross-country competitions, were featured over the eight-day period for both men and women.

Races kicked off on Saturday, Jan. 20 with a women’s and men’s middle-distance cross-country event.

American Oksana Masters topped the results in the women’s sitting field, completing the 5-kilometer course in a time of 17:59.6 for the win. Finishing in second place was Russian neutral athlete, Mariia Iovleva with a time of 19:35.6. Norway’s Birgit Skarstein claimed the third and final podium spot with a time of 19:40.8.

Also for U.S. Paralympics Nordic, Kendall Gretsch, a 27-year-0ld two-time world champion triathlete new to cross-country, finished sixth in a time of 19:49.0.

In the women’s 7.5 k standing race, Iuliia Batenkova of Ukraine emerged the victor after covering the course in a time of 25:14.7. Behind her in second was neutral athlete, Anna Milenina posting a time of 25:15.6. Emily Young of the Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team rounded out the top three, taking third with a time of 25:19.1.

“Third seems to be my lucky place right now,” Young said according to a Canadian team press release. “It was a good race in some tough conditions, but our team had the best skis and motors out there. 

“It has been a very encouraging start to the season, and this World Cup is very important to have both the powerhouse Neutral and Ukraine athletes here in the standing category,” she added. “It is great to see I can hold up a strong fight against them and that helps the motivation.”

Young’s teammate Brittany Hudak finished fifth, clocking in at 25:41.8.

“I felt really good during the race and the skis were spot on,” Young continued. “Even with the tumble I was skiing strong and kept the podium positions in sight. I can’t be upset with too much today. Mistakes are for learning, and I learned today that skis that are crossed don’t work that great. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Neutral racer Mikhalina Lysova claimed first in the women’s 7.5 k visually impaired race after finishing in a time of 25:29.6. Belarusian skier, Sviatlana Sakhanenka earned second in 25:31.4, while neutral athlete Elena Remizova finished just behind Sakhanenka in a time of 25:56.4 for third.

The men’s sitting 7.5 k saw neutral skier Aleksandr Davidovich come out on top with his time of 21:21.4 for first. Another neutral competitor, Ivan Golubkov raced to second after covering the course in a time of 21:51.9. American Andy Soule landed on the podium in third with his time of 22:43.3.

Canadian Chris Klebl finished in a time of 23:17.9 for sixth, while American Aaron Pike claimed 10th in 23:49.0. Three more Canadians competed in the event, with Collin Cameron taking 12th in a time of 24:10.4, Derek Zaplotinsky finished 15th in a time of 24:29.7, and Ethan Hess finishing 25th in a time of 28:40.0.

Taking the win in the men’s 10 k standing event was Vladislav Lekomtsev, a neutral competitor who covered the course in a time of 26:28.1. Canada’s Mark Arendz claimed second after clocking in at 27:21.1.

“I’m excited about that race,” Arendz said, according to a team press release. “I woke up with the confidence I could be competitive,” said Arendz. “The conditions made for difficult waxing, but I had all the trust that our team would provide some of the best skis. Those skis played a huge role in today’s result, so I can’t thank our wax techs enough.

“A lot of components came together today for me,” Arendz added. “I know there are some areas still where I can have a better race, but to start the week with this kind of result is a truly amazing feeling.”

The third and final podium spot went to Finland’s Ilkka Tuomisto, who finished in a time of 27:58.4 for third.

Also competing in the standing race was Canadian Kyle Barber, who finished 23rd in a time of 37:48.5.

Canadian paralympic legend, Brian McKeever won the men’s 10 k visually impaired event in a time of 26:40.6.

“That one was miserable,” McKeever said, according to the press release. “The conditions were so tough. It was dumping snow and warm which is the trickiest conditions for getting the right kick wax. We decided to double pole it today. It was a pretty flat course with one hill, which made you push hard and it hurt.

“We pushed the pace really good the whole way, but it just didn’t feel comfortable at all today,” he added.

Finishing behind him in second was neutral athlete, Oleg Ponomarev in a time of 27:21.6. Another neutral competitor, Nikolai Polukhin claimed third with a time of 27:39.9.

Day 1 Cross-Country Results: Women’s 5 k/7.5 k  | Men’s 7.5 k/10 k 

***

Day 2

Oksana Masters racing to first in the women’s 12 k sitting cross-country race on Jan. 21 at the IPC World Cup in Oberried, Germany. (Photo: US Paralympics Nordic/Facebook)

Racers returned to the venue Sunday, Jan. 21, for a distance cross-country event.

Masters doubled up on her cross-country wins, taking first in the women’s 12 k sitting event. She covered the course in a blistering time of 35:47.5. Second went to neutral athlete Irina Guliaeva, who finished in a time of 38:23.1. Norway’s Skarstein reached the podium once again, earning third in a time of 38:52.4.

American Gretsch repeated in sixth with a time of 39:25.9.

The women’s 15 k standing competition saw neutral athlete Ekaterina Rumyantseva emerge victorious after she covered the course in a time of 42:49.2. Ukraine’s Batenkova once again reached the podium, this time in second with a time of 44:40.1. Another Ukrainian skier, Iryna Bui finished third in a time of 46:04.8.

Canada’s Young placed fifth in a time of 47:37.0, while her Canadian teammate, Hudak finished seventh in a time of 49:55.4.

Lysova, competing as neutral, earned her second victory in a row, winning the women’s 15 k visually impaired event in a time of 43:21.7. Oksana Shyshkova of Ukraine claimed second in a time of 43:57.9, while Austria’s Carina Edlinger took third in a time of 44:41.9.

The men’s 15 k sitting event went to neutral athlete Golubkov in a time of 37:25.0. Davidovich, also a neutral competitor, clocked in at 38:32.3 for second place. Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi reached the podium on Sunday, taking third in a time of 40:09.2.

Just missing the top-three in fourth was Soule, who finished in 40:20.8.

Leading the Canadians in the sitting event was Zaplotinsky, who finished seventh in 42:11.8. Klebl placed ninth in 42:29.8, and Cameron 13th in 43:18.4. Clocking in at 50:27.8 was Hess in 19th place.

Winning the men’s standing 20 k was France’s Benjamin Daviet in a time of 42:41.4. Daviet’s closest competitor was Ukrainian Ihor Reptyukh, who finished second in a time of 42:44.4. Neutral athlete Lekomtsev once again reached the podium, this time in third with a time of 44:07.8.

Canada’s Arendz finished in fifth with a time of 45:15.5, while his teammate Barber finished in a time of 1:03:46.0 for 18th.

Neutral competitor, Stanislav Chokhlaev took first in the men’s 20 k visually impaired event posting a time of 42:18.4 for the win. McKeever placed second in a time of 42:36.3.

“We skied okay, but we are just not firing on all cylinders,” said McKeever, referring to himself and his guide Graham Nishikawa, in a team press release. “Graham set a pace we felt we could be consistent with, but in the end, if there was a chance to pick it up neither of us could. Graham pulled off to let me go on my own at the end, but I had nothing. We were both maxed out.”

“We are pretty cooked right now, but there is no need to hit the panic button,” McKeever continued. “It is a long way to go until we get to Korea so this is a good set of training races for us, and a chance to see where everyone else is at. I think we are in very good shape and in a good place.”

Polukhin repeated his third place finish from Saturday, clocking in at 44:15.6 in Sunday’s distance event.

Day 2 Cross-Country Results: Women’s 12 k/15 k | Men’s 15 k/20 k

***

Day 3

Racers had a day of rest on Monday, Jan. 22 before heading back to the venue on Tuesday, Jan. 23 for cross-country sprints.

Masters continued her streak, winning the week’s third and final cross-country sitting event — the women’s 1 k sprint — in 2:14.17. Finishing behind Masters in second was Norway’s Skarstein in 2:19.79. Third went to neutral athlete Iovleva in 2:23.44.

Gretsch also qualified for the final and finished fifth in a time of 2:33.24.

Ukrainian Liudmyla Liashenko earned her first win of the week, crossing first in the women’s standing 1.1 k sprint in a time of 2:54.84. Neutral competitor, Rumyantseva crossed second in 3:04.14, while Norway’s Vilde Nilsen earned third in 2:58.74.

Young advanced to the final, where she finished fifth in a time of 2:58.97. Hudak just missed qualifying for the final and finished the day in seventh with a time of 3:03.88.

Belarus’s Sakhanenka won the women’s visually impaired sprint, crossing first in the final in 2:56.94. Neutral athlete Lysova crossed second in a time of 2:58.35. Austria’s Edlinger claimed third, crossing in a time of 3:00.82.

Neutral competitor Golubkov took his second cross-country win of the week, crossing first in the men’s 1 k sitting sprint in a time of 1:50.48. Tuesday saw Soule garner his second cross-country podium of the week, as he finished second to Golubkov in 2:03.83.

For his first podium appearance of the week, Canada’s Cameron crossed third in a time of 1:56.67.

“It feels wonderful to get on the podium, especially after some really tough results for me so far here in Germany,” Cameron said, according to a team press release. “I remained focused today. I was battling stomach issues all day, and almost wasn’t going to race in the first heat.

“I just skied through it all and kept my focus on going as fast as I could,” Cameron added. “It was an awesome battle to the end, and was very close.”

Finishing just off the podium, in a time of 2:00.50 was Pike in fourth.

Zaplotinsky advanced all the way to semifinals, where he finished in eighth in a time of 2:06.71. Klebl placed 14th with a time of 2:07.83, while his Canadian teammate  Sebastien Fortier finished in 17th in a time of 2:13.12. Also for Canada, Hess placed 30th in a time of 2:29.55.

In the men’s standing 1.1 k sprint, Ukraine’s Grygorii Vovchynskyi came away with the win, crossing first in a time of 2:21.82. Rounding out the podium was Finland’s Tuomisto in second in a time of 2:26.99, and Ukraine’s Reptyukh in third in a time of 2:23.73.

Barber finished in 21st in a time of 2:53.42 and Arendz did not start.

McKeever doubled his week’s cross-country victories, crossing first in the men’s visually impaired sprint in a time of 2:29.89.

“It wasn’t a bad day all around,” McKeever said, according to the press release. “I went on kick wax in the qualifier since my back injury doesn’t handle double poling well, but it was too slow on this course and I had no choice but to switch for the semi- and the finals. It was a good call since it gave me a chance for the win.”

“The final was chaotic, but I was able to be aggressive and create space to make a good pass in the last 100 metres,” he added.

Crossing behind McKeever in second was neutral athlete Vladimir Udaltsov with a time of 2:26.15. Sweden’s Zebastian Modin claimed third in 2:21.51.

Day 3 Cross-Country Results: Women’s sprint| Men’s sprint

***

Day 4

Athletes had another day of rest on Wednesday, Jan. 24 before returning to the venue on Thursday, Jan. 25 for the first of three biathlon races.

Masters racked up another win in Thursday’s biathlon sitting sprint. The victory marked her fourth win in a row. She covered the 6 k course in a time of 20:46.1 after two missed shots (1+1). Master’s teammate Gretsch reached the podium in second place with a time of 21:04.1 after shooting clean.

Rounding out the remainder of the podium was neutral athlete Nadezhda Fedorova in third with a time of 21:43.3 after also shooting 100 percent.

The women’s standing 6 k biathlon sprint went to neutral competitor Milenina in a time of 18:56.3 after one miss (1+0). Tying Milenina’s score but finishing in a time of 18:57.9 for second was neutral athlete, Rumyantseva.

Norway’s Nilsen snagged the third and final podium spot after shooting clean and clocking in at 19:03.0.

Hudak shot 100 percent and raced to sixth place, covering the course in a time of 20:42.4. Young placed eighth in 21:02.3 after three misses (2+1).

Neutral athlete Lysova captured first in the women’s 6 k visually impaired biathlon sprint in a time of 19:32.1 after one miss (1+0). Remizova, also neutral, tied Lysova’s score and placed second in a time of 20:04.2.

Germany’s Clara Klug shot 100 percent and completed the course in a time of 20:14.5 for third.

In the men’s sitting biathlon sprint, neutral athlete Golubkov garnered another win, finishing first in a time of 21:08.2 after two misses (1+1). Ukraine’s Taras Rad raced to a second place finish after shooting 100 percent and clocking in in a time of 21:17.5.

After one miss (1+0), neutral athlete Davidovich placed third in a time of 21:44.8. American Soule just missed the podium in fourth, covering the course in a time of 21:45.2 after shooting clean.

Pike also shot 100 percent and finished seventh in 22:35.2. Cameron lead the Canadians in eighth in a time of 23:07.0 after shooting clean.

The next Canadian finisher was Zaplotinsky in 13th with a time of 24:32.4 and two misses (1+1). Following him was Fortier in 23rd, who covered the course in a time of 29:07.7 after seven misses (5+2).  

Ukraine’s Reptyukh won the men’s 7.5 k standing biathlon sprint in a time of 18:20.6 with 100 percent shooting. Canada’s Arendz earned second in a time of 18:42.4 after also shooting clean. Neutral athlete Vitalii Malyshev claimed the third and final podium spot in a time of 18:51.7 after also shooting 100 percent.

Barber finished in 22nd in a time of 25:56.9 after two misses (2+2).

Chokhlaev, a neutral competitor, took the men’s 7.5 k visually impaired biathlon sprint in a time of 18:56.3 with one miss (0+1). Neutral athlete Polukhin shot clean and raced to a second place finish after covering the course in a time of 19:11.8.

Ukraine’s Anatolii Kovalevskyi also shot 100 percent and finished third in a time of 19:24.5.

Day 4 Biathlon Results: Women sprint | Men sprint

***

Day 5

IPC competitors in Oberried had another off day on Friday, Jan. 25 before heading back to the venue on Saturday, Jan. 27 for the distance biathlon events.

Claiming first in the women’s 12.5 k sitting biathlon race was neutral athlete Guliaeva in a time of 43:46.0 after shooting 100 percent. Second went to another neutral athlete, Marta Zainullina, who covered the course in a time of 44:34.7 after two missed shots (1+0+0+1).

Third went to neutral competitor, Natalia Kocherova who shot clean and clocking in in a time of 46:22.8. Gretsch finished just off the podium in fourth, having covered the course in a time of 46:42.4 with three misses (1+0+0+2).

Masters placed ninth in a time of 49:47.8 after six misses (2+1+1+2).

Taking the win in the women’s standing 12.5 k biathlon race was neutral competitor Rumyantseva in a time of 39:26.2 after one miss (0+0+1+0). Second place went to Milenina, also a neutral athlete, who clocked in in a time of 39:35.7 after two missed shots (0+1+1+0).

Bui of Ukraine captured the third and final podium spot in a time of 40:17.3 with 100 percent shooting.

Hudak had one miss (1+0+0+0) and placed eighth in a time of 43:55.6. Her teammate Young finished with five misses (1+1+0+3) in a time of 45:36.7 for 10th.

Coming out on top in the women’s 12.5 k visually impaired biathlon event was neutral competitor Lysova in a time of 40:48.1 with 100 percent shooting. Behind her in second was Germany’s Klug,who also shot clean and clocked in in a time of 43:41.7.

Racing to third in a time of 44:13.7 after three misses (1+0+1+1) was neutral competitor Remizova.

In the men’s 15 k sitting biathlon race, Golubkov tallied yet another win, covering the course in a time of 36:50.6 after one miss (1+0+0+0). Also with one miss (0+1+0+0) neutral athlete Davidovich raced to second place in a time of 38:54.6. After two missed shots (0+1+0+1), Ukraine’s Rad raced to third in a time of 39:56.3 5.

Pike just missed the podium in fourth, clocking in in a time of 42:17.4 after one miss (0+0+1+0). Finishing just behind Pike in fifth was Cameron with two misses (1+0+0+1) and a time of 42:28.6.

“I’m very pleased with how things went today,” Cameron said, according to a team press release. “The skiing was not the best. I definitely have some fatigue creeping in after some tough races here, but some decent shooting definitely made the difference for me today.

“I’m confident but staying grounded and realistic about things going into the Games,” he continued. “It was nice finding a bit of my speed again on sprint day, and my shooting is coming together well, so I’m just aiming to build on that more as we prepare for March.”

Zaplotinsky also competed in the event and raced to 13th in a time of 46:50.4 after four misses (1+1+2+0). Soule finished in 14th in a time of 47:05.4 after seven missed shots (2+1+1+3). Placing 23rd with 11 misses (3+3+2+3) and a time of 56:52.8 was Canada’s Fortier.

France’s Daviet shot 100 percent and took the win in the men’s standing 15 k biathlon event in a time of 39:28.5. Also shooting clean was second place finisher and neutral athlete, Aleksandr Pronkov with a time of 42:08.2. Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset snagged the third and final podium spot in a time of 42:30.1 also with 100 percent shooting.

Arendz placed fifth in a time of 43:38.1 with two misses (0+0+1+1).

Topping the results in the men’s 15 k visually impaired event was neutral competitor Chokhlaev who clocked in in a time of 43:00.2 after shooting clean. Second went to Ukraine’s Kovalevskyi in a time of 46:52.9 after two missed shots (1+1+0+0). Rounding out the podium in third was neutral athlete Polukhin with two misses (0+1+0+1) and a time of 47:16.9.

Day 5 Biathlon Results: Women 12.5 k | Men 15 k 

***

Day 6

The final IPC event in Oberried took place on Sunday, Jan. 28 with a middle distance biathlon event.

Earning her fifth win and second biathlon victory for the week, Masters took the women’s 10 k sitting event in a time of 35:41.4 after one miss (0+0+0+1). Along with the five victories in Germany, Masters was also voted the IPC Allianz Athlete of the Month for January. Forty-eight percent of the public votes went to Masters, according to an IPC press release.

After shooting 100 percent, neutral athlete Guliaeva placed second in a time of 37:25.6. Fedorova, another neutral athlete, placed third in a time of 37:33.3 after one miss (0+1+0+0).

Gretsch just missed the podium in third, covering the course in a time of 37:51.5 after two misses (1+1+0+0).

In the women’s 10 k standing, neutral competitor Rumyantseva finished first in a time of 33:26.0 after two misses (0+0+1+1). Ukraine’s Batenkova shot clean and raced to a second place finish in a time of 33:57.9. The third and final podium spot went to another Ukrainian skier, Bui, after she also shot 100 percent and completed the course in a time of 34:41.0.

After four missed shots (0+1+2+1), Young finished in seventh in time of 39:20.3.

The women’s visually impaired 10 k went to neutral competitor Lysova in a time of 31:01.0 after she shot clean. Ukrainian Shyshkova missed five shots (3+2+0+0) and eventually raced to second place in 33:00.5. Natalia Rubanovska, also racing for Ukraine, completed the course in 33:30.8 after three misses (1+0+1+1) for third.

Coming in first in the men’s 12.5 k sitting biathlon race was Ukraine’s Rad. After shooting 100 percent, Rad covered the course in a time of 36:27.3. Second went to South Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin, who also shot clean and finished in a time of 37:27.0.

Davidovich, a neutral athlete, missed one shot (0+0+1+0) and raced to third in a time of 37:31.6.

Soule and Pike placed eighth and ninth respectively. Soule missed three shots (2+0+1+0) and finished in a time of 39:56.5, while Pike covered the course in a time of 41:14.6 after five misses (1+2+1+1).

Zaplotinsky covered the course in a time of 42:53.6 after two missed shots (0+1+1+0) and placed 11th.

Cameron did not finish, while his teammate, Fortier did not start.

Competing as a neutral athlete, Lekomtsev finished first in the men’s 12.5 k standing biathlon race, shooting 100 percent and covering the course in a time of 31:51.9. France’s Daviet missed one shot (0+1+0+0) and raced to second in a time of 32:57.0.

Neutral athlete Pronkov shot clean and claimed third in a time of 34:01.4. Canada’s Arendz placed fifth in a time of 34:12.1 after one miss (0+0+1+0).

Also competing for Canada, Barber placed 20th in a time of 47:38.8 after nine misses (3+1+4+1).  

The men’s visually impaired 12.5 k biathlon race went to neutral competitor Chokhlaev, who shot clean and covered the course in a time of 29:42.9. Polukhin, another neutral athlete, claimed second in a time of 30:33.0 after one miss (0+0+1+0). Ukrainian Iurii Utkin reached the podium, finishing third in a time of 30:43.7 after shooting 100 percent.

Day 6 Biathlon Results: Women’s 10 k | Men’s 12.5 k 

— Gabby Naranja

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2018 U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Team Announced 

Andy Soule will compete at his third Paralympics this March in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo: Team USA)

(Press release)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, announced today the 13 athletes and two guides named to the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Team. The team, which boasts eight Paralympians, will compete in biathlon and cross-country skiing at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 in South Korea from March 9-18.

“We are thrilled about the 15 athletes selected to represent Team USA at the Paralympic Winter Games,” said John Farra, director of U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “Led by our experienced athletes with proven success, we’re excited about the strong delegation we are bringing to PyeongChang and look forward to fighting for podium results in each competition.”

The team is headlined by three-time Paralympic medalist Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky). Masters has been a trailblazer in the sport since 2013, making history at Sochi 2014 when she won silver and bronze to become the first U.S. woman to win a Paralympic medal in cross-country in 20 years. She is also the first American woman to win a world title in Para Nordic skiing after capturing an unprecedented four gold medals at the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing World Championships. This will mark the fourth Games overall for the multi-sport athlete, who won a bronze medal in rowing at London 2012 and competed in cycling at Rio 2016. Heading into PyeongChang, Masters continues to dominate in the 2017-18 world cup season, having won 10 medals through the first two competitions.

On the men’s side, seven Paralympians return to the team, including Paralympic bronze medalist and seven-time world championship medalist Andy Soule (Kerrville, Texas). Soule will compete in his third Paralympics dating back to 2010, where he won the first-ever U.S. medal in the Olympic or Paralympic Winter Games in biathlon with a bronze in the men’s 2.4-kilometer race. Paralympian Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kansas), who won six medals in just eight starts during the 2016-17 world cup season, will look to continue his strong performance in the sport, while three-time Paralympian Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minnesota) and two-time Paralympian Sean Halsted (Spokane, Washington) will also compete for the first Paralympic medals of their careers. Jake Adicoff (Sun Valley, Idaho), who won two gold medals and one bronze medal in cross-country events with new guide Sawyer Kesselheim (Bozeman, Montana) at the 2017 world cup stop in PyeongChang that doubled as a Paralympic test event, returns to the second Paralympics of his career. Two additional athletes return from Sochi 2014, including Bryan Price (Leeton, Missouri) and Jeremy Wagner (Nānākuli, Hawaii).

Rounding out the team are seven athletes who will make their Paralympic debut: Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Illinois), Grace Miller (Palmer, Alaska), Ruslan Reiter (Manchester, Maine), Joy Rondeau (Granby, Colorado), Mia Zutter (Sun Prairie, Wisconsin), and guides Kesselheim and Kristina Trygstad-Saari (Bozeman, Montana).

The team features five retired U.S. military members in Cnossen (Navy), Halsted (Air Force), Price (Army), Soule (Army) and Wagner (Army).

Competition will begin on March 10 with biathlon sprint and will finish with the mixed and open relays on March 18. Athletes compete in three categories – sitting, standing and visually impaired – according to their impairment.

All Paralympic nominations are subject to the approval of the USOC and U.S. Paralympics. For more information on the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Team, visit Team USA’s PyeongChang 2018 microsite and follow U.S. Paralympics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

2018 U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Team
* Denotes U.S. Paralympian
# Denotes retired U.S. Military

Men

  • *Jake Adicoff (Sun Valley, Idaho) – visually impaired
  • *# Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kan./Navy) – sitting
  • *# Sean Halsted (Spokane, Wash./Air Force) – sitting
  • Sawyer Kesselheim (Bozeman, Mont.) – guide
  • *Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minn.) – sitting
  • *# Bryan Price (Leeton, Mo./Army) – sitting
  • Ruslan Reiter (Manchester, Maine) – standing
  • *# Andy Soule (Kerrville, Texas/Army) – sitting
  • *# Jeremy Wagner (Nānākuli, Hawaii/Army) – sitting

Women

  • Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.) – sitting
  • *Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kent.) – sitting
  • Grace Miller (Palmer, Alaska) – standing
  • Joy Rondeau (Granby, Colo.) – sitting
  • Kristina Trygstad-Saari (Bozeman, Mont.) – guide
  • Mia Zutter (Sun Prairie, Wis.) – visually impaired

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IPC Recap: Masters Earns Triple Biathlon Crown at IPC Opener in Canmore

On Sept. 6, 2017, the  International Paralympic Committee (IPC) governing board decided to maintain the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee. Russian athletes are allowed to compete as neutral athletes and are designated accordingly in this recap of the IPC World Cup from Dec. 9-17 in Canmore, Alberta.

***

IPC World Cup: Canmore, Alberta (Cross-country)

Day 1: Cross-country

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) season kicked off Saturday, Dec. 9 in Canmore, Alberta with a men’s and women’s cross-country sprint event.

Canada’s Emily Young reached the podium In the women’s standing event, crossing third in a time of 3:37.63. Ahead of her was Neutral athlete Ekaterina Rumyantseva, finishing first in a time of 3:22.16 and neutral athlete Anna Milenina, who crossed second in a time of 3:34.36.

Two other Canadians competed in the final and finished just shy of the podium, with Natalie Wilkie crossing fourth in a time of 3:38.22 and Brittany Hudak crossing fifth in a time of 3:45.12.

“In the final, my goal was to hold my technique, keep skiing, and do the best I can,” Young said according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “”Three Canadians in the final made it so much better. We are bringing Natalie Wilkie in. We support each other in the race, won’t cut each other off, but when it comes down to it – it’s everyone for themselves. You saw that today.”

The U.S.’s Grace Miller ended the day in 11th in a time of 4:55.55, while Canadian Lyne-Marie Bilodeau finished in 13th after completing the course in a time of 5:08.90.

In the women’s sitting sprint event, Germany’s Andrea Eskau claimed the win, covering the course in a time of 2:44.85. Neutral athlete Marta Zainullina crossed second in a time of 2:51.38, while Norwegian Birgit Skarstein snagged the final podium spot, crossing in a time of 2:55.12 for third. Though she advanced to the final, the U.S.’s Oksana Masters was disqualified after a false start.

“I’m very happy with how I skied today,” Masters posted on her Instagram. “Unfortunately I got a little too excited at the start of the final and started by 0.5 seconds too soon.”

“I completely take 100 percent accountability for the accidental false start,” she added. “Mistakes happen and I am so ready to throw it down in tomorrow’s race with a little more motivation.”

Also racing for the U.S. was Kendall Gretsch in 11th (3:04.02) and Joy Rondeau in 20th (4:07.78).

Two Canadians raced in the sitting event, with Cindy Ouelett placing 18th (3:35.10) and her teammate, Tanya Quesnel 21st (5:00.28).

Neutral athlete Mikhalina Lysova won the women’s visually impaired sprint, crossing in a time of 3:27.47. Neutral athlete Elena Remizova, took the next podium spot in second i after finishing the course in a time of 3:30.70. Austrian skier, Carina Edlinger, finished third in a time of 3:33.18. Mia Zutter was the only American in the event and finished in sixth in a time of 4:09.58.

Three Canadians raced the event, with Maya Jonas in ninth (5:45.52), Celine Kavanaugh in 10th (6:02.93), and Julie Mayer in 11th (7:51.57).

The men’s standing sprint event went to France’s Benjamin Daviet, who won the race in a time of 2:38.96. Neutral athlete Vladislav Lekomtsev placed second in a time of 2:43.33, while Neutral athlete Rushan Minnegulov claimed third in a time of 2:54.04. Canada’s Mark Arendz ended the day in eighth (2:58.47).

Four other Canadians raced Saturday’s standing sprint, with Andy Lin finishing in 22nd (3:19.40), Kyle Barber in 26th (3:30.31), Jason Naval in 27th (3:47.82), and Jesse Ehman in 29th (3:56.81).

Racing for the U.S. was Ruslan Reiter in 21st.

American Andy Soule reached the podium in the men’s sitting sprint, placing third after covering the course in a time of 2:28.44. Winning the event was Neutral athlete Ivan Golubkov in first after crossing in a time of 2:15.54. Neutral athlete Aleksei Bychenok claimed second with a time of 2:25.77.

Also making the final was American Daniel Cnossen in sixth (2:23.02). Aaron Pike, also of the U.S., just missed the final, finishing seventh in a time of 2:26.82.

Four more Americans raced in Saturday’s sitting sprint, with Jeremy Wagner in 18th (2:41.39), Bryan Price in 19th (2:41.90), Sean Halsted in 20th (2:42.56) and Eric Frazier in 33rd (3:12.85).

Racing for Canada in the men’s sitting sprint was Collin Cameron in 13th (2:36.13), Sebastien Fortier in 17th (2:40.52), Derek Zaplotinsky in 22nd (2:43.55), Yves Bourque in 29th (2:52.09), Ethan Hess in 31st (2:53.97). Canadian Chris Klebl did not start.

In the men’s visually impaired sprint, Neutral athlete Oleg Ponomarev took the win in a time of 2:41.12. Another Neutral athlete skier, Vladimir Udaltsov placed second in a time of 2:41.80, while third went to Sweden’s Zebastian Modin in a time of 2:46.44.

Just missing the podium was the U.S’s Jake Adicoff in fourth, who crossed in a time of 2:47.76. Canada’s Jesse Bachinsky placed 16th, after covering the course in a time of 3:32.53.

Saturday results: Women sprint | Men sprint

***

Day 2: Cross-country

On Sunday, Dec. 10, racers returned to the venue for the men’s and women’s middle distance cross-country event.

In the women’s sitting 5-kilometer race, Germany’s Eskau doubled up on her weekend wins, placing first in a time of 15:21.3.

“I’m really excited,” Eskau said according to an IPC press release. “Yesterday I won by luck. Today was strength. It’s more important to win today than yesterday,” she continued, referring to her win over Masters, who was disqualified in Saturday’s sprint after a false start.

Masters of the U.S. finished in second, five seconds back from Eskau.

“I feel like I’m in a pretty good place, considering this is only the second race of the season,” Masters said according to an IPC press release. “My goal for today was to start well over my time. I nailed that by a few seconds. Got that down.Raced my own race. I know I’m not there yet with my fitness. I feel very happy with where I’m at.”

“I look at the Paralympics as the main war,” Masters continued. “These are the tiny battles. That is my war. I’m trying to go far.

The third and final podium spot went to Neutral athlete Zainullina, who finished 38.7 seconds behind Eskau’s winning time.

Two more Americans competed in the 5 k sitting event, with Gretsch placing sixth (+1:17.2) and Rondeau 21st (+6:12.9). Canada’s Ouelett and Quesnel finished 18th (4:04.6) and 22nd (+9:32.4), respectively.

In the women’s standing 7.5 k cross-country race, Neutral athlete Rumyantseva tallied another win, finishing first in a time of 19:44.1. Placing second, 24.3 seconds behind her was Neutral athlete Milenina. Young repeated her third place position, snagging the final spot in Sunday’s 7.5 k standing event after finishing 1:21.6 seconds off of Rumyantseva’s time.

“This is my first year starting at the back, hunting people down,” Young said according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “It was really cool being out there, reeling people in. It was just like fishing out there.”

“It wasn’t until last year that I finally felt like a competitor on the snow, and not just present being the caboose on the trails,” said Young. “I feel like the light bulb went on in Germany (World Championships last February), and my skill level now matches my drive. I feel I can actually compete and push now, and that is a lot of fun.”

Just behind Young were her Canadian teammates, Wilkie and Hudak in fourth (+1:53.0) and fifth (+2:40.8), respectively.

“It was a lot of fun to race on home trails and have everyone cheering for Canada,” Hudak said according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “The first races of the year are always kind of a mystery. You don’t know where you’re going to end up so it is nice to get everyone together again and get a better picture of where you are at. I felt good and hope to build on this.”

Competing for the U.S. was Miller in 12th (+6:41.8 2).

Neutral athlete Lysova sealed a back-to-back win in the women’s visually impaired 7.5 k race, clocking in in a time of 19:57.1. Neutral athlete Remizova, finished in second, 0.8 seconds behind the race winner. Austria’s Edlinger finished third, 55.9 seconds back from Lysova.

Zutter of the U.S. finished in sixth (+3:13.6), while Canadians Kavanaugh and Jonas placed eighth (+15:01.4) and ninth (+22:12.9), respectively.

In the men’s sitting 7.5 k sitting race, Neutral athlete Golubkov won once again, completing the course in a time of 20:33.8. Neutral athlete skier Aleksandr Davidovich placed second (+50.5), while China’s Peng Zheng took third (+1:10.3).

For the American’s, Cnossen placed fifth (+1:23.1 2), Soule 10th (+2:02.9), Pike 12th (+2:17.4), Halsted 21st (+3:13.7), Wagner 23rd (+3:49.5), and Frazier 35th (+9:48.0).

Canada’s Klebl was eighth (+1:48.2), followed by Zaplotinsky in ninth (+2:09.3), Cameron in 14th (+2:23.6), Fortier in 16th (+2:30.6), Bourque in 31st (+5:49.6) and Hess in 32nd (+5:36.9 2).

France’s Daviet earned his second win in a row, claiming first in the men’s standing 10 k event after covering the course in a time of 22:14.1. Minnegulov, an Neutral athlete skier, placed second (+27.9) and Aleksandr Pronkov, another Neutral athlete athlete, placed third (+34.5).

“Will I celebrate? Not yet. The season is long,” Daviet said according to an IPC press release. “For a start, this is perfect. I am in good shape. I feel the altitude in Canmore, but we have to manage our strength.”

Canada’s Arendz just missed the podium in fourth (+1:14.0).

“I started hard and tried to see if I could hold it. I maybe went a bit too hard in the first lap, but the last three were consistent so I’m happy with the results,” Arendz said according to a Cross Country Canada press release.

“Right now, is all about working out the bugs, making sure we mimic how I want to approach the race in March (Paralympics). At the end, I’ll look and see where I stack up, but I know my shape will be much different come March.”

Three other Canadians completed Sunday’s race, with Barber finishing in 26th (+7:27.1 2), Lin in 30th (+8:36.4), and Naval in 31st (+14:43.0). Reiter of the U.S. placed 19th (+4:22.2) and Ehman of Canada did not finish.

In the men’s visually impaired 10 k, Stanislav Chokhlaev racing for Neutral athlete, won in a time of 22:33.5 and finishing 20.4 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Modin in second place. Aleksandr Artemov claimed the final podium spot in third (+24.4).

“It’s a good start to the season,” Modin said according to an IPC press release. . “I started slow and relaxed. I think I did that. I rose in the ranks through the whole race and had a good finish.”

American Adicoff raced to a fifth place finish (+31.0), while Canada’s Jesse Bachinsky placed 13th (+5:26.7).

Sunday results: Women 5/7.5 k | Men 7.5/10 k

***

Day 3

After a day of rest on Monday, Dec. 11, athletes returned the race venue for a men’s and women’s distance cross-country event.

In the women’s sitting 12 k event, Germany’s Eskau once again held off Masters for the win, finishing in a time of 34:19.8.

“It was a very good victory,” Eskau said according to an IPC press release. “It was even a good time between me and second place. It was very comfortable.”

Skiing for the U.S., Masters finished second, 32.7 seconds behind Eskau. Yawei Jin of China claimed third, 1:35.0 seconds off of the winning time.  

“Today it went well,” Masters said according to an IPC press release. “I feel I’m right where I should be.”

Also skiing for the U.S. was Gretsch in eighth (+2:53.1).

The women’s standing 15 k race went to Rumyantseva of Neutral athlete in a time of 47:00.6. Canada’s Young finished 36.0 seconds back for second place, while Milenina of Neutral athlete finished third (+45.8).  

“I was hoping for a medal. I knew I could fight for third. I wasn’t expecting to finish much higher, but you never know. Anything can happen,”Young said according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “That was home field advantage today. I train on a lot of these hills so I know how they hurt.”

“That was a great performance today for Emily. We’ll take that,” Robin McKeever, the head coach for Canada’s Para-Nordic Ski Team said, according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “She’s only been in our program for two years, and is able to be on the podium and beat a multiple World Champion today by 10 seconds. That is a huge thing for her, and a great confidence boost for our program.”

Also competing for Canada was Wilke in fourth (+1:18.4) and Bilodeau in eighth (+26:23.9).

Neutral athlete Remizova won the women’s visually impaired 15 k, clocking in at 46:51.2. Finishing 50.2 seconds behind her was Neutral athlete Lysova in second, followed by another Neutral athlete skier, Marina Galitsyna in third (+1:29.7 4). Skiing for the U.S. was Zutter in fifth (+11:52.6).

In the men’s 15 k sitting event, Neutral athlete Golubkov claimed first in a time of 38:38.5. China’s Zheng finished second (+1:26.9) and Neutral athlete Davidovich in third (+1:21.5). Cnossen of the U.S. finished just off the podium in fourth (+1:49.6), and his American teammate Soule placed sixth (+2:18.2). Also competing for the U.S. was Halsted in 18th (+5:53.0), Wagner in 21st (+7:00.4), Price in 23rd (+7:27.2) and Frazier in 30th (+15:49.1).

Klebl led the Canadians in seventh (+2:34.3), followed by Cameron in 14th (+4:39.0), Fortier in 17th (+5:49.0), Hess in 26th (+9:18.6), and Bourque in 28th (+11:05.2).

In the men’s 20 k standing event, Neutral athlete Minnegulov won in a time of 52:21.7. Neutral athlete Vladislav Lekomtsev nabbed second (+47.3 5) and Neutral athlete Mikhail Tukmachev third (+1:41.3). Canadian Andy was the only North American in the event, placing 18th (+19:22.6).

Winning the men’s 20 k visually impaired event was Neutral athlete Ponomarev after clocking in in a time of 51:25.9. Chokhlaev finished second (+1:41.6) and Sweden’s Modin third (+2:08.3).

Canada’s Bachinsky was the only North American in the event and placed eighth (+17:27.0).

Results: Women’s 12/15k | Men’s 15/20 k

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IPC World Cup: Canmore (Biathlon)

Day 4

With the conclusion of the cross-country competitions on Monday, Dec. 11, athletes competing in the opening IPC races in Canmore turned their attention to biathlon.

The first event took place Thursday, Dec. 14, three days after the last cross-country race, and included a distance biathlon event for both genders.

After missing first in her favoured cross-country events–she claimed two second place finishes and was disqualified from the sprint for a false start–Oksana Masters, skiing for the U.S., redeemed herself and raced to a first place finish in the women’s sitting 12.5-kilometer biathlon race.

Masters won the race in a time of 46:00.9 after two misses (0+1+0+1).

“It feels absolutely shocking to be on top of the podium in a biathlon race,” Masters said according to an IPC press release. “All the best shooters and skiers are here. To be in the mix and giving them a run for their money is shocking to me. I am so used to chasing them and trying to hang on with them. They are my motivation.”

Marta Zainullina skiing Neutral athlete, finished in second place, clocking in at 48:07.0 after three missed shots (1+2+0+0). Irina Guliava, also Neutral athlete, completed the course in a time of48:09.9 with one miss (0+0+1+0) for third place.

Kendall Gretsch, also racing for the U.S., finished the day in eighth in a time of 53:01.6 after five misses (2+1+0+2).

In the women’s standing 12.5 k biathlon event, first and second went to two Neutral athlete athletes, Ekaterina Rumyantseva taking the win in a time of 37:06.3 after just one miss (0+0+1+0) and Anna Milenina finishing in second in a time of 38:11.2 after two misses (1+0+0+1).

After shooting clean, Canada’s Brittany Hudak snuck onto the podium, placing third after covering the course in a time of 40:54.1. Hudak was the lone North American to compete in the event.

“It’s nice for the third race to have a podium finish,” Hudak said according to an IPC press release. “It solidifies my trust in the process.”

“I need to be a little more efficient on the skis,” she continued. “It’s a balance between keeping the tempo and the glide. When I tried to focus on the long glide, I really wasn’t gliding that well. I think fine tuning ski efficiency is key.”

Taking the women’s visually impaired 12.5 k was Mikhalina Lysova, a Neutral athlete athlete, clocking in in a time of 38:34.7 after missing just one shot (1+0+0+0).

Afrer missing two shots (1+1+0+0), Germany’s Clara Klug placed second in a time of 42:20.3.

The third and final podium spot went to Marina Galitsyna, who covered the course in a time of 42:34.1 after four missed shots (2+0+1+1).

In the men’s sitting 15 k biathlon distance event, Neutral athlete athlete, Ivan Golubkov took first in a time of 43:25.2 with a total of two misses (0+0+1+1). Another neutral athlete, Roman Petushkov claimed second after shooting 100 percent and covering the course in a time of 44:51.0. South Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin earned the final podium spot, clocking in in a time of 45:30.8 with one miss (1+0+0+0) for third.

Racing for the U.S. was Daniel Cnossen, who covered the course in a time of 48:00.6 after three misses (1+0+1+1) and finishing fifth.

Canada’s Derek Zaplotinsky was the next North American finisher in 11th, clocking in in a time of 51:39.2 after missing three shots (1+1+1+0).

American Aaron Pike finsihed with six misses 2+2+1+1 and raced to a 12th place finish in a time of 51:47.4. Another U.S. competitor, Sean Halsted, placed 13th, completing the course in a time of  53:13.8, also with six misses (2+1+2+1).

Two more Americans raced in the sitting event, with Bryan Price finishing in a time of 55:20.9 with six misses 1+3+1+1 for 16th and Andy Soule placing 19th in a time of 1:01:01.7 after 14 missed shots (2+4+5+3).

In the men’s standing 15 k biathlon event, France’s Benjamin Daviet emerged victorius after shooting clean and covering the course in a time of 35:46.3. Also shooting 100 percent was Canada’s Mark Arendz, who placed second in a time of 36:56.7.

“It was a good race, but there was room for sharpening being the first Para-biathlon race of the year,” Arendz said according to a Cross Country Canada press release.“I died a little more than I hoped towards the end, but overall it was consistent.”

“Some of the Neutrals are here that I haven’t seen in a couple of years and I know they are really good athletes so it was good to see where I stood today,” Arendz added. “I was feeling good enough in the range, but I can push a little more there.”

Yet another clean shot was neutral athlete, Aleksandr Pronkov, who claimed third in a time of 37:04.0.

Two other Canadians participated in Thursday’s standing biathlon event, with Jesse Ehman finishing 15th in a time of 54:22.3 after six misses (1+2+1+1) and Kyle Barber placing 18th in a time of 1:04:07.3 after 16 missed shots (5+5+4+2).

In the men’s visually impaired 15 k biathlon event, all three top spots went to neutral athletes, with Stanislav Chokhlaev claiming first, Nikolai Polukhin second, and Aleksandr Artemov third.  Chokhlaev shot clean and covered the course in a time of 35:54.4, while Polukhin finished in a time of 39:00.3 after missing just one shot (1+0+0+0). After two misses (2+2+0+0), Artemov placed third in a time of 44:08.6.

No North Americans competed in Thursday’s visually impaired biathlon race.

Results: Women 12.5 k | Men’s 15 k

***

Day 5

Once again, the U.S.’s Masters landing atop the biathlon podium, finishing first in the women’s 6 k biathlon sprint, despite an equiptment malfunction: a screw came loose and fell off of her sit ski during the first lap.

“I lost a screw, so it wasn’t attached to my frame, which is a blessing in disguise cause then I learned to ski more gracefully around the corners instead of just jagged,” Masters said according to an IPC press release. “That was why it was even more important to just stay in my race and focus on me and not what the result was.”

In spite of the broken sit ski, Masters crossed first in a time of 21:53.3 with two misses (1+1).

“I’m speechless,” Masters continued. “I don’t know what to say, it’s so surprising. Biathlon is not my forte, so to have it here flip-flopped and do better in biathlon than cross-country is nice.”

Also a competitor in cycling at the Rio 2016 Paralympics Games, Masters is taking this season to focus more fully on skiing.

“I skipped out on the competitive cycling season to make sure my peak is perfect for PyeongChang. I’m really chasing that gold medal for team USA,” Masters said. “Knowing I’m getting faster and faster as the races go on [in Canmore] is a good boost of confidence.”

Neutral athletes, Zainullina and Guliava, crossed in second and third respectively. Both shot 100 percent, with Zainullina covering the course in a time of 22:00.4 and Guliava clocking in at 22:31.5.

American Gretsch missed two shots (1+1) and ended the day in fifth in a time of 23:33.3.

All three top spots in the women’s standing biathlon 6 k sprint went to neutral athletes, with Rumyantseva winning in a time of 16:44.4 after one missed shot  (1+0), and Milenina crossing second in a time of 16:51.1, also with one missed shot (0+1), and Natalia Bratiuk crossing third in a time of 18:07.8 after shooting clean.

Canada’s Emily Young finished just off the podium in fourth, clocking in at 18:20.5 after one miss (0+1).

“I don’t race biathlon too much so I can’t complain here today,” Young said according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “I tried to ski hard and come into the range hot. I have confidence in my ski ability. I know I can push, but it’s always a different morning before a biathlon. My nerves are even higher than in cross-country because there is just more that can go wrong.”

“I skied well and everything went well except for the last shot,” Young continued. “I was able to push hard on the last couple laps. It didn’t feel like I even skied the penalty lap. I was out of there before it started. It’s all learning experiences. You miss one. It happens.”

Her Canadian teammate, Hudak, crossed fifth in a time of 18:33.7 after shooting 100 percent.

“I was really happy with my shooting in the range today,” Hudak said according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “I wanted to see how hard I could go, and maintain that speed for the race. Shooting went really well, but I feel some fatigue in the legs.”

“I am known for starting races on the conservative side,” Hudak added. “Sometimes it takes me a while to build on, but the body is starting to get tired. You never know [how you will feel] until you go. You gotta know your strengths and weaknesses. This past year, shooting has been a strength, so we’ll run with that.”

The women’s standing biathlon 6 k sprint went to neutral athlete Lysova in a time of 17:23.8 after she shot clean. Also shooting 100 percent was Germany’s Vivian Hosch in second in a time of 19:04.2.

“Shooting was good, racing was good,” Hosch said, according to an IPC press release. “The long [distance 12.5 k] biathlon started well, but I missed two targets. Today I shot clean. Now it’s clear, it’s a qualie for PyeongChang.”

With three misses (0+3) in third, was another German athlete, Klug, who clocked in at 19:48.5.

““I need to clean up the shooting,” Klug said, according to an IPC press release, after the sprint. “I owe [my guide Martin Hartl] 30 bucks for missed shots. That’s way too expensive for me. I have to get back to my normal conditions and concentrate in the shooting range. I’m not too sure how to do this yet, but I’ll figure it out.”

Racing for the U.S., Mia Zutter placed seventh in a time of 25:43.1 after five missed shots (2+3), while Canada’s Maya Jonas placed ninth in a time of 37:45.8 after five misses (1+4).

Netrual athlete Golubkov won the men’s sitting 7.5 k biathlon sprint in a time of 22:25.1 after one miss (1+0). Sin of South Korea crossed in a time of 23:22.3 after shooting clean for second, while Neutral athlete skier Aleksandr Davidovich crossed in a time of 23:31.7 with one miss (0+1) for third.

For the North Americans, the U.S.’s Cnossen was the top male finisher, placing seventh in a time of 24:23.3 after two misses (0+2). Canada’s Collin Cameron finished one place behind Cnossen in eighth, covering the course in a time of 24:29.8 after one missed shot (0+1).

American Pike placed 10th, missing three shots 2+1 and clocking in at 24:51.1. The U.S.’s Halsted finished in 15th in a time of 26:15.6 with three misses (1+2), while his teammate, Price placed 16th in a time of 26:27.9 after one miss (0+1).

Canada’s Zaplotinsky finished 17th after covering the course in a time of 26:36.6 with three misses (1+2) and American Soule placed 18th, finishing in a time of 27:01.2 with seven misses (3+4).

American Jeremy Wagner finished in a time of 27:28.8 with three misses (2+1) for 20th, while Canadian Sebastien Fortier raced to 22nd in a time of 28:05.1 after missing five shots (4+1).

The men’s standing 7.5 k biathlon sprint went to France’s Daviet, who crossed in a time of 17:00.8 for the win after shooting clean. Neutral athlete Vladislav Lekomtsev finished second in a time of 18:01.1 after two misses, while Aleksandr Pronkov, also a Neutral athlete skier, shot clean and finished third in a time of 18:03.3.

Canada’s Arendz finished just off the podium in fourth, crossing in a time of 18:07.8 after shooting 100 percent.

Two other Canadians partook in Saturday’s standing biathlon sprint, with Barber placing 17th in a time of 24:53.4 with four misses (2+2) and Ehman placing 18th in a time of 25:26.3 after two missed shots (1+1).

In the men’s visually impaired 7.5 k biathlon sprint, neutral athletes Chokhlaev, Nikita Povarov, and Artemov comprised the men’s podium, with Chokhlaev claiming first in a time of 17:26.6 after shooting clean.

Povarov placed second in a time of 18:52.7 after also shooting 100 percent, and Artemov finished third in a time of 19:03.0 also with perfect shooting.

Results: Women’s biathlon sprint | Men’s biathlon sprint

***

Day 6

Masters of the U.S. was crowned the biathlon queen in Canmore, taking the third and final women’s sitting event, a 10 k biathlon pursuit. Masters covered the course in a time of 41:02.3 with seven missed shots (1+2+2+2).

“I definitely started sweating when I started missing more than I wanted to. But I had great skis,” Masters said according to an IPC press release. “Every time I missed on the range, I had a little more motivation to let it out on snow. It worked out.”

Behind Masters in second was Guliava, a neutral athlete, who missed two shots (0+0+1+1) and finished in a time of 41:42.3. Third went to Zainullina, also neutral, in a time of 41:57.6 after five misses (1+1+1+2).

Competing for the U.S., Gretsch finished in eighth in a time of 47:58.9 after ten missed shots (2+3+5+0).

In the women’s standing 10 k pursuit, neutral athlete Rumyantseva took the win in a time of 35:06.5 with six misses (1+1+2+2). Another neutral athlete, Milenina, claimed second, finishing in a time of 37:43.3 after missing eight shots (2+1+4+1). Canada’s Young snagged the final podium spot, finishing third in a time of 38:02.4 after two misses (0+1+1+0).

“I’m happy it’s done. The stress is over. I don’t have to shoot anymore,” Young said, according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “Overall it was pretty good. I had to ski hard to make up for the couple I missed, but it’s good practice to have to sprint in a longer distance race.”

“I haven’t raced that many biathlon races,” Young continued. “My focus has been on cross country so it’s just range procedure and learning how to shoot clean in a race situation,” added Young. “Overall I was happy with the shooting. I executed it as well as I could, and then skied my butt off in the penalty lap a couple times.”

Young’s Canadian teammate, Hudak placed fourth in a time of 39:28.6 after one miss (1+0+0+0).

“I just wanted to ski fast and try to stay focused on my own race,” Hudak said, according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “It gets a little distracting when you’re trying to catch the people ahead of you, but you know the people behind you are catching you, and your thoughts can kind of skew away from what your process is and what your race plan is.

“You have to remain within your own limits,” Hudak added. “You can’t ski too fast and then completely miss everything in the range, so you have to just stay focused on your race plan…There comes a time when you have to realize how far you’ve come. I haven’t been skiing all that long. My technique was really bad not that long ago, so it’s come along way. It is a good start to the season specially to end on a positive note.”

The women’s visually impaired pursuit went to neutral athlete, Lysova, who missed one shot (1+0+0+0) and clocked in in a time of 35:00.7. Elena Remizova, also a neutral athlete, took second, covering the course in a time of 39:06.3 with six misses (0+1+3+2).

Germany’s Hosch took the final podium spot, clocking in in a time of 40:28.8 after two misses (1+0+0+1) for third.

The men’s sitting 12.5 k biathlon pursuit went to Golubkov in a time of 42:55.2 after six misses (3+1+1+1). Earning second and his first podium finish of the season was Cnossen of the U.S. in second place. Cnossen shot 100 percent and covered the course in a time of 44:30.1.

“Today’s race was much better than the other two,” Cnossen said, according to an IPC press release. “I was configured to start a little further back today, so I didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I tried to relax and take each step as it came.”

Third place went to Sin of South Korea, who missed two shots (2+0+0+0) and clocked in at 44:39.3.

Also competing for the U.S., was Pike in eighth in a time of 47:46.5 with three misses (0+1+1+1), Soule in 11th in a time of 52:21.6 with eight missed shots (2+1+3+2), Price in 15th in a time of 54:35.4 with four misses (0+3+1+0), and Wagner in 17th in a time of 57:23.4 with seven missed shots (2+2+1+2).

Leading the Canadians was Cameron in ninth in a time of 47:50.2 with three misses (0+0+2+1), followed by Zaplotinsky in 13th in a time of 52:41.0 with three misses (1+1+1+0), and Fortier in 19th in a time of 1:00:28.9 after 11 missed shots (4+4+3+0).

The men’s standing biathlon pursuit went to France’s Daviet, who missed two shots (0+1+0+1) and covered the course in a time of 34:19.3.

Neutral athlete Vladislav Lekomtsev, earned second in a time of 35:51.5 after missing two shots (0+1+0+1). Norwegian Nils-Erik Ulset claimed the third and final spot, clocking in in a time of 36:07.5 after shooting 100 percent.

Canada’s Arendz finished fifth, covering the course in a time of 36:45.1 after two misses (0+1+1+0).

“I think just a little fatigued on the range mentally,” Arendz said according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “The first loop and last loop were really good, it’s just that the two middle ones with the misses there – that hurt. I think I would’ve been in the running for the podium without those two misses, so I’m happy with that. It’s a long week overall, so it’s good to wrap it up,”

The men’s visually impaired biathlon event once again went to neutral athlete Chokhlaev, who clocked in in a time of 36:17.3 after two misses (1+1+0+0).

In second was another neutral athlete, Nikola Polukhin, who completed the course in a time of 39:53.4 with two missed shots (1+0+0+1). Artemov claimed third in a time of 40:06.1 with one miss (f 0+1+0+0).

Results

— Gabby Naranja

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IPC World Cup Finals: 2 Wins for Masters, 1 for Adicoff; Canada’s Young, Arendz Place 2nd

American Oksana Masters racing to first in the women’s 10-kilometer sitting biathlon race this past Tuesday in Sapporo, Japan. (Photo: Oksana Masters/Twitter)

The International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) fifth and final week of World Cup racing began last Saturday, March 18, and lasted through Wednesday, March 22 in Sapporo, Japan. Complete series recap and results below.

***

Day 1

After ending last season undefeated in every IPC World Cup cross-country race she entered, Oksana Masters of U.S. Paralympics Nordic kept the streak going strong last Saturday, taking first in the women’s 5-kilometer sitting race in Sapporo.

Masters completed the course in 15:32.0, besting both Germany’s Andrea Eskau in second and Anja Wicker in third. Eskau clocked in at 15:45.3, while her teammate Wicker finished in 17:11.7.

In the men’s 7.5 k sitting race, Ukrainian Maksym Yarovyi took the win in 20:42.9. South Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin claimed second, clocking in 21:04.4, while third went to Germany’s Martin Fleig in 21:05.6.

Canada’s Chris Klebl was the top North American in the men’s sitting race, coming in fifth in 21:32.2. American Andy Soule followed in sixth in 21:33.8, then Aaron Pike, also for the U.S., clocking in at 21:45.5 for seventh.

The women’s 7.5 k visually impaired cross-country win went to Austria’s Carina Edlinger, who finished in 21:11.1. Second place went to Oksana Shyshkova of Ukraine, who finished in 22:59.6, while Germany’s Clara Klug claimed the third podium spot in 23:29.6.

A second U.S. skier reached the podium on Saturday, with Jake Adicoff finishing second in the men’s 10 k visually impaired freestyle race in 23:07.7. Finishing ahead of Adicoff in first was Sweden’s Zebastian Modin, who clocked in in a time 22:53.7.

Rounding out the podium was Dmytro Suiarko of Ukraine, who finished in 24:17.7 for third.

Ukraine swept the podium the podium in the women’s 7.5 k standing freestyle race, with the win going to Oleksandra Kononova in 20:35.4. Her teammate Liudmyla Liashenko earned second, finishing in of 21:07.3. Bohdana Konashuk was the final Ukrainian to reach the women’s standing podium, completing the course in 21:13.3 for third.

France’s Benjamin Daviet won the men’s 10 k standing race in 22:14.0. Ihor Reptyukh claimed second in 22:59.6, while Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset earned third in 23:06.4. Just missing the podium in fourth was Canada’s Mark Arendz, who finished in 23:06.5.

Results: Women | Men

Day 2

Adicoff claimed his third career cross-country victory on Sunday in the men’s 5 k classic visually impaired race, winning in 13:00.9, ahead of Ukraines’s Iurii Utkin in second and Iaroslav Reshetynskiy in third. Utkin completed the course in 13:48.2, while Reshetynskiy finished in 13:51.3.

Notching her second-straight win was Austria’s Edlinger, topping the women’s 2.5 k classic in 7:53.9. Ukraine’s Shyshkova once again finished second, clocking in at 8:25.5, while her Ukrainian teammate Natalia Rubanovska rounded out the podium in third in 8:49.6.

Making his way onto the podium in the men’s 5 k sitting was Canada’s Klebl, who finished second in 14:24.9. Placing ahead of him in first was Ukraine’s Yarovyi, who clocked in at 14:12.4, while Germany’s Fleig once again took third, completing Sunday’s 5 k course in a time 14:30.7.

Pike and Soule finished seventh and eighth respectively, with Pike finishing in 15:06.0 and Soule 15:08.2.

For the first time in two seasons, Masters didn’t win the women’s sitting cross-country race. Instead, she placed second, completing the women’s 2.5 k course in 8:20.2. Germany’s Eskau claimed first, clocking in at 8:07.8 for the win. Rounding out the podium was Wicker, completing the course in 8:57.1 for third.

In the men’s 5 k standing classic event, France’s Daviet once again won, finishing first in 12:19.7. Racing on his country’s home course, Japan’s Yoshihiro Nitta came in second, completing the 5 k in 12:54.3. Ukrainian Grygorii Vovchynskyi claimed the third and final spot, finishing in 13:04.3.

Once again finishing just off the podium was Canada’s Arendz in fourth, clocking in at 13:25.0.

Earning her second win in a row was Ukraine’s Kononova, leading the field in the women’s 2.5 k standing classic in 7:52.4. Claiming second was Sweden’s Helene Ripa in 8:18.2, while Ukraine’s Iuliia Batenkova earned third in 8:18.5. Canadian Emily Young finished fifth in 8:28.5.

Results: Women | Men

Day 3

Perhaps seeking redemption after her second-place finish on Sunday, Masters won the women’s 10 k sitting biathlon race on Tuesday, March 21, finishing in 34:45.4 with three misses (2+0+0+1).

Finishing behind Masters in 35:29.3 also with three misses (1+1+1+0 ) was Germany’s Eskau. Her German teammate, Wicker claimed the third and final podium spot, clocking in at 36:41.8 after also accumulating three penalties (1+2+0+0).

Moving up from third to first was Germany’s Fleig, who finished first in the men’s 10 k sitting biathlon event in 39:10.5 after two missed shots (0+1+1+0). Behind Fleig was Ukraine’s Taras Rad in second, posting a time of 39:50.6 after one miss (0+0+0+1). After missing three shots (1+1+1+0), Trygve Steinar Larsen completed the 10 k course in 40:54.3 for third.

Soule was the top North American in fifth, missing six shots (2+1+1+2) and finishing in 42:45.8. Pike placed seventh, clocking in in 45:48.7 with nine misses (4+2+0+3).

Ukraine once again swept the podium, this time in the women’s 12.5 k standing biathlon event. Kononova kept her winning streak strong, claiming first in 29:15.9 after two misses (0+2+0+0). Her teammate Iryna Bui placed second, finishing in 31:11.8 after three missed shots (1+1+0+1). Liashenko rounded out the third and final podium spot in 31:42.0 with seven misses (0+4+1+2).

Shooting a perfect 20-for-20 was Canada’s Young, who finished in 34:00.3 for eighth place.

Breaking onto the podium after back-to-back fourth-place finishes was Canada’s Arendz, who claimed second in the men’s 12.5 k standing biathlon competition in 30:31.2 with one miss (0+0+1+0). Placing ahead of Arendz in first was France’s Daviet, who missed two (0+1+0+1) and clocked in at 30:13.5.

“The third bout of shooting was by far my worst and that is where my single miss came from,” Arendz said, according to a Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team press release. “In the end, shooting clean would have earned me top spot on the podium, but with my miss, I had to settle for second place. The focus now is to recover as best as I can for the final race of the season tomorrow.”

Rounding out the podium was Ulset, who completed the course in 30:44.4 after two misses (1+1+0+0).

The women’s 12.5 k visually impaired biathlon event went to Shyshkova of Ukraine in 31:31.7 with one miss (0+1+0+0), while Germany’s Klug claimed second in 32:55.8 after also missing one shot (1+0+0+0).

Ukrainian Olga Prylutska earned third in 37:43.2 despite 11 misses (1+2+4+4).

Another Ukrainian podium sweep occurred on Tuesday, this time in the men’s 12.5 k visually impaired biathlon race with Utkin earning first and completing the course in f 32:14.1 after two misses (1+0+0+1). Just behind Utkin was Oleksandr Kazik in second, finishing in 33:27.3 with three misses (2+1+0+0).  The third podium finisher, Suiarko, clocked in at 33:51.5 after missing three shots (1+0+1+1 ).

Results: Women | Men

Day 4

Canada’s Emily Young (l) on the podium in second in the women’s 6 k biathlon standing race on Wednesday, March 22, at IPC World Cup Finals in Sapporo, Japan. Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova (c) finished first, for her fourth-straight win in as many races at IPC World Cup Finals, and Ukraine’s Bohdana Konashuk (r) placed third. (Photo: Emily Young/Facebook)

On the fourth and final IPC World Cup race day on Wednesday, March 22, Canada’s Young reached the podium, finishing second in the women’s 6 k standing biathlon event. She shot clean and completed the course in 18:41.8 for second place.

“What the heck just happened? And why didn’t I do that the rest of the year?” Young said, according to a Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team press release. “Yesterday was a confidence booster in the range, but I tried another tactic in skiing which didn’t work.

“On the start line today, I knew I could give it everything for six kilometres and so I did,” she added. “I trusted my abilities and the process [coach] John Jacques and I have been focusing on and it worked.

“I had no expectations other then I was going to ski and shoot the best I could and I did it,” added Young. “I can’t thank the wax techs and coaches enough,” Young continued. “They have been absolutely incredible the entire year and nothing would be possible without their support.”

Ahead of Young in first was Ukraine’s Kononova, who finished in 18:12.9 after missing two shots. Also for Ukraine, Batenkova, who also shot 100 percent, finished in 18:50.9 for third.

Arendz repeated in second for Canada in the men’s 7.5 k standing biathlon race, finishing in 18:45.3 with one miss (1+0). Shooting 100 percent for first place was France’s Daviet, who finished in 17:49.6. Ukraine’s Reptyukh clocked in at 19:32.5 for third after two misses (0+2).

“This morning I believed I could be in the hunt for the victory. The body felt great,” Arendz said, according to a team press release. “Missing the first shot, I knew the win would have slipped out of my hands, but I had to ski myself back into contention and focused what I needed to do to secure some crystal.

“I’m thrilled to have been as consistent as I was this season,” Arendz added. “It shows the improvement I have made on the shooting range, and it is paying off in competition. The string of seconds does show me there is still room for improvement. That will add to my drive over the next 12 months.”

Finishing the season once again on the podium, Masters earned second in the women’s 6 k sitting biathlon race, completing the course in 20:41.0 after one miss (1+0). Shooting clean for the win in 20:33.8 was Germany’s Eskau. Her German teammate, Wicker, claimed the third and final podium spot in 21:51.7 after tying Master’s shooting score.

“I feel like I had a pretty great season, especially coming off training for a complete other sport that uses a complete opposite motion not too long ago,” Masters said according to a U.S. Paralympics press release, referring to her handcycling training for the 2016 Summer Olympics. “I’m really happy with my season and my training; I feel extremely hopeful to have to good races in PyeongChang next year.

“It feels so good to hold on to that overall world cup title for cross-country and it feels so amazing to be ranked third overall in biathlon because that was one of my goals this season: To be in the top three,” she added.

For his third win of the week, Ukraine’s Yarovyi claimed first in the men’s 7.5 k sitting biathlon race, finishing in 24:13.4 after three misses (2+1). Germany’s Fleig finished behind him in second, clocking in at 24:22.5 after one miss (1+0). Larsen took the final podium spot in 24:44.2 after also missing one shot (0+1).

Just missing the podium in fourth was American Pike, who shot one miss and clocked in at 24:51.6. Soule followed in seventh, finishing 25:40.7 with two misses (1+1).

Ukraine’s Shyshkova won the women’s 6 k visually impaired biathlon race in 19:46.4 after two misses (0+2). Second place went to Germany’s Klug in 19:52.2 after one missed shot (0+1), while Prylutska of Ukraine claimed third in a 21:10.0 after three missed shots (1+2).

In the men’s 7.5 k visually impaired biathlon event, Reshetynskiy of Ukraine won in 20:00.1 after two misses (1+1). His Ukrainian teammate Suiarko shot clean for second place in f 20:03.8, while Kazik, also of Ukraine, claimed third in 20:13.3 after two misses (1+1). For the U.S., Adicoff finished sixth in 21:59.5 with five misses.

Results: Women | Men

— Gabby Naranja

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Win No. 2 for Adicoff; Masters Remains Undefeated; First Win for Cameron

Left to right: Americans Dan Cnossen, Oksana Masters and Aaron Pike after placing third, first and second in their respective cross-country events on Monday at the IPC World Cup in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo: Oksana Masters/Twitter)

After a rest day following two days of racing, the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) fourth weekend of World Cup racing continued Monday, March 13 in PyeongChang, South Korea, with the men’s and women’s cross-country sprint races. Complete recap and results below. 

***

Day 3

Six for six. That’s how many IPC cross-country races American Oksana Masters has entered and it’s also how many she’s won. After ending last season undefeated in cross-country races, Masters has continued her winning streak into the 2016/2017 season, taking her sixth cross-country title on Monday in the women’s sitting sprint.

Masters finished first in a time of 3:26.85, besting German Andrea Eskau’s second place time of 3:40.34. Belarus’s Lidziya Hrafeyeva took third in a time of 3:45.92.

Two more Americans competed in Monday’s sitting sprint, Kendall Gretsch, who made it to the finals and crossed fifth in a time of 3:56.12 and Joy Rondeau, who finished 11th in a time of 4:24.15.

An all-North American podium occurred in the men’s sitting sprint, with Canada’s Collin Cameron leading the way in first, finishing in a time of 3:06.08. The win was a career-first for Cameron, and one he won’t forget.

“It’s amazing. It is the best feeling of my life,” Cameron said according to a Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team press release. “It’s nice to see my hard work in training, and experience from my last two sprint races this year, pay off with a victory here in PyeongChang.”

“I definitely built up a lot of confidence from my previous results in this event,” Cameron added. “Utilizing everything I have learned in those races to race smarter, and faster, it all paid off today.”

American Dan Cnossen took second, clocking in in a time of 3:04.73, while his teammate Andy Soule claimed third in 3:09.66.

Finishing fifth after making the final was American Aaron Pike, crossing in a time of 3:05.78. Two more Americans competed in Monday’s sprint, with Sean Halstead finishing 12th in a time of 3:21.28 and Bryan Price in 18th in a time of 3:31.55.

Chris Klebl was the top Canadian, crossing ninth in a time of 3:15.02. His teammates Sebastien Fortier finished 16th in a time of 3:28.32, Yves Bourque 23rd in a time of 3:42.16, and Ethan Hess in 24th in a time of 3:45.21.

Claiming second in the women’s standing sprint was Canada’s Emily Young, finishing in a time of 5:31.36. Oleksandra Kononova of Ukraine finished ahead of Young, crossing in a time of 5:18.05. Her Ukrainian teammate, Liudmyla Liashenko took third, crossing in a time of 5:26.79.

Also competing for Canada were Brittany Hudak, who finished seventh in a time of 5:33.57, and Caroline Bisson, who finished in a time of 6:31.24 for 11th.

In the men’s standing sprint, it was Grygorii Vovchynskyi of Ukraine who took the win, crossing first in a time of 4:14.92. Japan’s Yoshihiro Nitta came in second, finishing in a time of 4:05.02. Ukrainian Ihor Reptyukh claimed the final spot in third, crossing in a time of 4:25.22.

American Ruslan Reiter was the top North American in the men’s standing division, finishing in 13th in a time of 4:50.47. Canada’s Louis Fortin finished 18th in a time of 5:23.92, while Canadian Andy Lin did not start.

In the women’s visually impaired sprint, Sviatlana Sakhanenka of Belarus won in a time of 5:16.07. Austrian Carina Edlinger claimed second in a time of 5:26.17, while Oksana Shyshkova of Ukraine took third in a time of 5:33.84.

American Mia Zutter was the only North American in that race and placed seventh in 6:48.54.

Earning his second-career victory, American Jake Adicoff crossed first in the men’s visually impaired sprint, clocking in in a time of 4:10.00. Yury Holub of Belarus crossed second in a time of 4:24.04. Rounding out the podium in third was Iurii Utkin of Ukraine, who finished in a time of 4:36.51.

Results: Women | Men

***

The fourth day of racing at the PyeongChang IPC World Cup included long-distance biathlon races on Tuesday, March 14.

Day 4

For her second-career biathlon win, Masters raced to first in the women’s 12.5-kilometer sitting biathlon race, finishing in a time of 51:55.8 after missing three shots (2+0+1+0). Germany’s Anja Wicker earned second in a time of 53:00.3 after shooting 100 percent, while her teammate Eskau finished third in a time of 53:19.1 with one miss (1+0+0+0).

Clocking in in a time of 1:09:37.1 for fifth was Rondeau, after missing seven shots (2+1+1+3).

After missing the podium in Monday’s cross-country sprint, Pike made his way into the top three, finishing second in the men’s 12.5 k sitting biathlon event on Tuesday. Pike clocked in at 54:32.8 after two misses (0+0+1+1). Ahead of Pike was Germany’s Martin Fleig, who won in a time of 52:22.8 after two missed shots (0+1+1+0).

Cnossen rounded out the podium, placing third after five misses (1+2+0+2) and covering the course in a time of 54:46.3.

Three more U.S. skiers completed the event, with Soule finishing seventh in 56:19.8 after six misses (2+2+1+1), Halstead 11th in a time of 59:31.5 after five misses (1+1+1+2), and Price 14th in a time of 1:00:42.8 after four misses (0+1+1+2).

Canadian Derek Zaplotinsky finished in 12th in a time of 1:00:02.8 after three missed shots.

Kononova reached the podium once again, finishing first in the women’s 12.5 k standing biathlon event in a time of 46:12.0 after three missed shots (2+0+1+0). Her Ukrainian teammate Liashenko took second, clocking in in a time of 47:19.5 after three misses (1+1+0+1).

Rounding out the all Ukrainian podium in third was Iryna Bui, finishing in a time of 49:36.1 after one miss (0+0+0+1). Just missing the podium in fourth was Canada’s Hudak, completing the course in a time of 50:54.9 after shooting clean.

Canada’s Mark Arendz claimed second once again, this time in the men’s 15 k standing biathlon event. Arendz completed the course in a time of 53:49.8 after one miss (1+0+0+0). Finishing ahead of Arendz was France’s Benjamin Daviet, who covered the course in a time of 52:07.7 after three missed shots (0+2+0+1).

Rounding out the third and final podium spot was Vovchynskyi of Ukraine, finishing in a time of 54:50.0, after missing one shot (0+0+0+1).

Moving up after placing second in the biathlon sprint was Shyshkova of Ukraine who won the women’s 12.5 k visually impaired biathlon race in a time of 48:16.6 after one missed shot (0+0+0+1). Her Ukrainian teammate Olga Prylutska, finished second in a time of 51:27.6 after missing three shots (1+0+1+1). German Clara Klug claimed the final podium spot in third shooting 100 percent and finishing in a time of 51:45.3.

American Zutter finished in fifth in a time of 1:07:50.6 with seven misses (2+2+2+1).

Ukraine’s Utkin once again reached the podium, this time snagging first in the men’s 15 k visually impaired biathlon event. Utkin covered the course in a time of 53:46.0 after shooting 100 percent. His Ukrainian teammate Iaroslav Reshetynskiy finished second, clocking in at 54:51.7 after one missed shot (0+0+1+0).

The third and final podium finisher in the event was Belarus’s Vasili Shaptsiaboi who completed the course in a time of 55:09.1 with three misses (1+0+2+0).

Results: Women | Men

— Gabby Naranja

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Two Golds for U.S. in PyeongChang: First for Adicoff, Fifth in a Row for Masters

Americans Andy Soule (l) and Oksana Masters after both reached the podium in their respective long-distance, cross-country races at the IPC World Cup race in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo: Oksana Masters/US Paralympics Twitter)

The International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) fourth weekend of World Cup racing kicked off Friday, March 10 in PyeongChang, South Korea, with men’s and women’s biathlon sprints. Canadian Mark Arendz and American Oksana Masters reached the podium in second and third, respectively. Complete race recap and results below.

***

Day 1

In the women’s sitting biathlon 6-kilometer sprint, American Oksana Masters reached the podium in third in a time of 24:43.1 after two misses (1+1). Two Germans placed ahead of her, with Anja Wicker taking the win after shooting clean and completing the course in a time of 24:19.6. Earning second place was Wicker’s teammate, Andrea Eskau clocking in at 24:19.8 after one missed shot (1+0). American Joy Rondeau finished fourth in a time of 30:23.2 with two misses (2+2).

The men’s sitting 7.5 k biathlon sprint went to Germany’s Martin Fleig, who missed one shot (0+1) and completed the course in a time of 24:25.0. South Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin snagged second after tying Fleig’s shooting score and finishing in a time of 25:00.8. Rounding out the podium in third was Ukrainian Taras Rad, who clocked in at 25:11.7 after one miss (1+0).

Four Americans competed in the men’s sitting event, with Andy Soule leading the team in sixth. Soule completed the course in a time of 26:08.1 after four misses (1+3). Just one spot behind Soule was his teammate Aaron Pike in seventh. Pike clocked in at 26:34.9 after three missed shots (2+1).

Also for the U.S., Sean Halstead placed ninth in 27:16.1 after two misses. Bryan Price was the final American on the day, finishing 14th in a time of 30:02.2 after five misses (3+2).

Two Canadians also competed in Friday’s sitting biathlon sprint, with Collin Cameron finishing eighth, completing the course in a time of 26:38.1 after three misses (0+3). Derek Zaplotinsky came in 11th, finishing in a time of 28:52.6 with two missed shots (0+2).

Ukraine swept the women’s standing 6 k biathlon sprint podium, with first going to Oleksandra Kononova in a time of 19:26.8 after two misses (0+2). Her teammate, Iuliia Batenkova, shot 100 percent and clocked in a time of 19:35.4 for second place. Iryna Bui snagged the third and final spot in a time of 20:12.6 after one missed shot (0+1). 

Two Canadians competed in the event, with Brittany Hudak placing fifth in a time of 21:15.1 after one miss (1+0). Her teammate, Emily Young missed three shots (2+1) and finished in a time of 22:14.0 for ninth place.

Canada’s Mark Arendz claimed second in the men’s 7.5 k biathlon standing sprint, after shooting clean and clocking in in a time of 18:54.4.

Left to right: Canada’s Mark Arendz, France’s Benjamin Daviet and Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset on the podium after the men’s 7.5-kilometer standing biathlon sprint on Friday at the the International Paralympic Committee World Cup race in PyeongChang South Korea. (Photo: Mark Arendz/twitter)

“The warm temperatures and bright sunlight caused the majority of the course to be very deep, soft and wet snow,” Arendz said said, according to a Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team press release. “I really enjoy the course here. It is a great mix of hard climbs, rolling and pancake flat sections with both straightforward and technical descents. The wind will play an important role in the shooting, but the warm and soft conditions that we are experiencing is exactly what we had expected from the venue.”

France’s Benjamin Daviet tied Arendz’s shooting score, and raced to first place, completing the course in 18:33.1. Norwegian Nils-Erik Ulset rounded out the podium in third, also shooting 100 percent and finishing in 19:21.5.

“It is a good course and fun to ski through. I am happy with my performance, it was one of the best races I have had this season,” Ulset said, according to an IPC press release

German Clara Klug took the women’s visually impaired 6 k biathlon sprint, finishing in a time of 22:39.3 for the win after shooting 100 percent. Oksana Shyshkova of Ukraine claimed second in a time of 23:07.6 after two misses (1+1), while her Ukrainian teammate, Nata Rubanovska earned third in a time of 23:41.9 with two missed shots  (2+0).

American Mia Zutter also competed in the event, finishing in fifth in a time of 31:46.3 after six misses (3+3).

Ukraine’s Dmytro Suiarko claimed the men’s visually impaired 7.5 k biathlon sprint, completing the course in a time of 21:12.0 after shooting clean. Anatolii Kovalevskyi, also of Ukraine, finished second after shooting 100 percent and clocking in in a time of 21:21.0. The third and final podium spot went to another Ukranian, Iurii Utkin in a time of 21:38.5 with one miss (1+0).

Results: Women | Men

***

Athletes returned to the venue on Saturday, March 11, for long-distance, cross-country races. Americans Jake Adicoff and Soule both landed on the podium, and Canada’s Arendz racked up his second podium in a row. Masters also earned her second podium of the week. Complete race recap and results below.

Day 2

For the first time in his ski career, American Jake Adicoff raced to an IPC cross-country victory on Saturday, winning the men’s visually impaired 20 k freestyle in a time of 1:00:16.9. Finishing behind him in 1:02:43.9 was Sweden’s Zebastian Modin, taking second. The third finisher was France’s Thomas Clarion, who clocked in at 1:03:28.7.

Modin is currently ranked number one on the IPC World Cup athlete list, just ahead of Clarion.

“Winning this race is a huge confidence boost for me,” Adicoff said, according to an IPC press release. “It is good to be here testing the course ahead of next year’s Paralympic Winter Games.”

In the women’s visually impaired 15 k freestyle race, it was Austria’s Carina Edlinger who came away with the win, finishing in a time of 56:05.1 for first.  Second place went to Ukrainian Olga Prylutska in a time of 1:00:08.3, and third to Ukraine’s Shyshkova in a time of 1:02:08.6.

“It was really hard but great, I did good and I am happy,” Edlinger said according to an IPC press release.

Another American male made the podium, with Soule placing second in the men’s sitting 15 k race after completing the course in a time of 46:09.6.

First place went to South Korea’s Sin, who clocked in at 45:41.2. The third and final podium spot went to Canada’s Chris Klebl in a time of 46:15.3.

“The last month has been an experiment, and today’s plan was simply to see if the various gambles employed in getting back to World Cup form might work,” Klebl said, according to a team press release. “Racing well here this week was a major focus of my season, but my medical challenges derailed a variety of plans, so skiing well today feels like a giant bonus in a season that did not unfold as planned.”

Despite dealing with health issues this season, Klebl, a three-time Paralympian, is hopeful that Saturday’s performance is an indicator of future results at the Olympics in PyeongChang a little less than a year from now.

“I was in a hospital bed on bed rest for six weeks recovering from surgery related to a skin and bone infection until January 31,” Klebl said. “Training had gone well, but I had been dealing with an infected wound since the beginning of August. While I did lift weights in my hospital bed, I only got on snow on February 1, and had not done any ski specific training since the end of November.”

Three more Canadians competed in the 15 k sitting event, including Cameron who finished sixth in a time of 47:40.2, Sebastien Fortier taking 12th in a time of 50:53.9, and Zaplotinsky, who clocked in at 51:33.9 for 13th place.

For the U.S., Halstead finished 10th in a time of 50:13.2.

Last year, Masters didn’t miss a beat in cross-country and so far this year, she’s done the same. Along with taking home three gold medals from this season’s IPC World Championships, Masters has continued her winning streak, dominating all the women’s sitting cross-country events that she has entered.

She earned her fifth-consecutive cross-country win in a row on Saturday, taking the title in the women’s sitting 12 k event — her total season wins now amasses to six, which includes her first biathlon victory.

Masters won the race in 41:02.1, besting Germany’s Eskau, who finished second for the second-straight day in 42:13.3, and Norway’s Birgit Skarstein, who finished third in a time of 42:41.0.

Left to right: Germany’s Anja Wicker, the U.S.’s Oksana Masters and Norway’s Birgit Skarstein on the podium for the women’s 6 k sitting biathlon sprint on Friday, March 10, at the the IPC World Cup race in PyeongChang South Korea. (Photo: Oksana Masters/US Paralympics twitter)

Two other U.S. women competed in Saturday’s sitting event, including Kendall Gretsch, who finished eighth in of 47:48.5 and Rondeau, who finished 10th in 49:59.8.

In the women’s standing 15 k freestyle competition, Ukraine’s Kononova emerged victorious, taking the win in a time of 55:29.2. Her Ukrainian Batenkova snagged second in a time of 56:53.4, while Japan’s Momoko Dekijima earned the final podium spot in a time of 57:34.4.

Canada’s Young and Caroline Bisson both competed in the standing event, with Young placing fifth in a time of 1:01:02.4 and Bisson finishing eighth in a time of 1:07:46.9.

Canada’s Arendz claimed his second podium in a row, after finishing third in the men’s standing 20 k competition in a time of 1:00:02.5.

“It was a tough day on the course, but the wax technicians provided some amazing skis that helped a lot,” Arendz said, according to a team press release. “It was soft and deep slush, but I felt I kept a very strong, solid pace throughout the race. It was tough to finish so close to second, but I have to be pleased with the effort I put in today. It was a great result for me.”

Placing ahead of the Canadian in first and second respectively, were France’s Daviet and Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh.

Daviet completed the course in a time of 56:35.8 for the win, while Reptyukh finished in a time of 59:58.9.

Results: Women | Men

— Gabby Naranja

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IPC Ukraine World Cup Recap

The second seven-day-long International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup race series began Friday, Jan. 13 in Western Center, Ukraine, and ran until Friday, Jan 20. Athletes of both genders competed in three cross-country events as well as three biathlon events. No North Americans–men or women–competed in this IPC week.

***

Day 1: Women’s 2.5 k/7.5 k & Men’s 5 k/10 k Classic Events

Friday the 13th may not be a lucky day for many athletes, but for Germany’s Andrea Eskau, it was the kickstarter to a three-day winning streak.

Her first victory came in the women’s 2.5-kilometer classic event, which she won in a time of 10:17.6. She finished ahead of Belarus’s Lidziya Hrafeyeva, who finished in a time of 10:49.9 for second place and China’s Beibei Chu, who finished third in a time of 11:20.0.

In the men’s 5 k classic ski ski event, Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin claimed first in a time of 18:14.6. Second place went to Maksym Yarovyi of Ukraine in a time of 18:30.9, while his Ukrainian teammate Taras Rad took third in a time of 18:50.8.

The Ukrainian women’s team earned their first win on home soil for the week with Oleksandra Kononova’s victory in the women’s 7.5 k standing classic event. Kononova completed the course in a time of 19:53.1, besting her Ukrainian teammate Iuliia Batenkova, who finished in a time of 20:04.9 for second place.

The third and final podium spot went to Yurika Abe of Japan in a time of 21:19.3.

Another Ukrainian took the top spot in the men’s standing 10 k classic event, with Ihor Reptyukh emerging victorious with a winning time of 26:12.9. Second place went to Finland’s Ilkka Tuomisto in a time of 26:27.1, while Ukraine’s Grygorii Vovchynski claimed third after posting a time of 26:56.8.

The final women’s event for the day, the 7.5 k visually impaired classic event, went to Austria’s Carina Edlinger, who finished in a time of 21:52.9. Olga Prylutska of Ukraine finished in second after completing the course in a time of 22:00.8 and her Ukrainian teammate, Oksana Shyshkova took the final podium spot in a time of 23:43.5.

France’s Thomas Clarion claimed the top spot in the men’s 10 k visually impaired standing event, finishing in a time of 25:15.9. Second place went to Yury Holub of Belarus in a time of 26:54.9, while Ukraine’s Dmytro Suiarko took third in a time of 26:59.5.

Results: Women | Men

Day 2: Women’s 12 k/15 k & Men’s 15 k/20 k Freestyle Events

Germany’s Andrea Eskau earned her second win in a row on Sunday, Jan. 15, racing to a first place finish in the women’s 12 k sit skiing event. She completed the course in a time of 43:07.1, besting her German teammate Anja Wicker, who finished in second place in a time of 45:22.1. The final podium spot went to Belarus’s Lidziya Hrafeyeva, who finished in a time of 45:33.2.

Eui Hyun Sin of Korea also claimed his second win in a row, racing to a first place finish in the men’s 15 k sit skiing event. Sin finished in a time of 45:53.3 for first, once again ahead of Ukrainian sit skier, Maksym Yarovyi in second in a time of 46:20.0. Third went to Belarus’s Dzmitry Loban in a time of 47:32.9.

An all Ukrainian podium occurred in the women’s 15 k standing freestyle event, with Oleksandra Kononova claiming her second victory in a row ahead of her teammates Iuliia Batenkova and  Liudmyla Liashenko. Kononova completed the course in a time of 50:11.3, while Batenkova finished in 50:14.8 and Liashenko in 51:18.5.

Also claiming his second win in a row was Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh, who won the men’s 20 k standing freestyle event in a time of 57:05.7. Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset earned second place, clocking in at 57:54.8. The third and final podium spot went to Ukraine’s Grygorii Vovchynski in a time of 59:51.5.

Moving up from her Day 1 third place to a first place finish on Day 2 was Oksana Shyshkova, who won the women’s 15 k visually impaired freestyle event in a time of 52:49.6. Austria’s Carina Edlinger returned to the podium, this time in second place after completing the course in a time of 53:56.4. Olga Prylutska of Ukraine claimed the final podium spot in a time of 54:39.4.

A repeat first place performance greeted France’s Thomas Clarion, who won the men’s 20 k visually impaired freestyle event in a time of 56:25.9. His French teammate, Anthony Chalencon earned second place, after completing the course in a time of 58:42.7, while Iurii Utkin took third in a time of 58:55.9.

Results: Women | Men

Day 3: Women’s & Men’s Freestyle Sprints

Athletes returned to the race venue on Monday, Jan. 16 for the final day of cross-country competitions, freestyle sprints.

Andrea Eskau took her third win in a row, winning the women’s sit sprint in a time of 3:33.18. Crossing behind her in second was Belarus’s Lidziya Hrafeyeva in a time of 3:47.89. Norwegian Birgit Skarstein snagged her first podium of the week, crossing third in a time of 3:47.73.

In the men’s sit sprint, it was Maksym Yarovyi of Ukraine who took the win, crossing first in a time of 3:04.26. Crossing behind him in second was Dzmitry Loban of Belarus in a time of 3:17.97, while Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin claimed third, crossing in a time of 3:12.43.

For the second day in a row, Ukraine’s women swept the standing podium, with Oleksandra Kononova winning the women’s standing freestyle sprint event in a time of 4:14.10. Second place went to her teammate Liudmyla Liashenko in a time of 4:18.51, and third to Iryna Bui, who crossed in a time of 4:43.13.

Grygorii Vovchynski of Ukraine won the men’s standing freestyle sprint event, besting his teammate Ihor Reptyukh for first. Vovchynski crossed in a time of 3:41.16 and Reptyukh in 3:30.60. Rounding out the podium for Day 3 was Finland’s Ilkka Tuomisto, who crossed in a time of 3:43.21 to claim third.

Holding onto her first place position for the second day in a row was Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova, who crossed first in the women’s visually impaired freestyle sprint in a time of 4:22.65. Second place went to her Ukrainian teammate Olga Prylutska, who crossed in a time of 4:27.96, while Austria’s Carina Edlinger claimed third in a time of 4:30.05.

Making his way to the top of the men’s visually impaired sprint podium on Monday was Iurii Utkin of Ukraine, who crossed first in a time of 3:34.68. Second place went to his Ukrainian teammate Anatolii Kovalevskyi, crossing in a time of 3:36.33, while third went to Belarus skier, Yury Holub in a time of 3:37.98.

Results: Women | Men

Day 4: Women’s 12.5 k & Men’s 15 k Biathlon Events

With the completion of the week’s cross-country events, Tuesday, Jan. 17 marked the first of three biathlon competitions for IPC competitors in Western Center, Ukraine.

Proving her hand in shooting as well as skiing, Andrea Eskau took her fourth win of the week, racing to a first place finish in the women’s 12.5 k sitting biathlon event. Eskau clocked in at 49:11.5 after two missed shots (0+0+1+1).

Second place went to Lidziya Hrafeyeva of Belarus in a time of 52:19.7 also with two misses (1+0+0+1), while third was claimed by Germany’s Anja Wicker in a time of 52:30.0 with four missed shots (4+0+0+0).

For his first medal of the week, Norway’s Trygve Steinar Larsen took the win in the men’s 15 k sitting biathlon event, finishing in a time of 48:33.8 after just one missed shot (0+0+0+1). Dzmitry Loban of Belarus took second in a time of 49:31.0 with two missed shots (0+2+0+0), and rounding out the final men’s podium spot was Taras Rad of Ukraine, who clocked in at 49:41.7 and missed two shots (0+0+0+2).

Continuing her cross-country victories into biathlon, Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova emerged victorious in the women’s 12.5 k standing biathlon event, completing the course in a time of 45:40.9 after missing four shots (2+1+0+2). Second place went to Japan’s Momoko Dekijima, who finished in a time of 48:09.2 after two misses (1+0+0+1), while third place went to Ukraine’s Iuliia Batenkova in a time of 48:33.3 with four missed shots (0+1+2+1).

France’s Benjamin Daviet earned his first podium of the week, winning the men’s 15 k standing biathlon event in a time of 40:59.7 after shooting clean. Nils-Erik Ulset of Norway claimed second place, clocking in in a time of 43:17.7 after one miss (0+1+0+0), while Grygorii Vovchynski of Ukraine took third, completing the course in a time of 43:58.4 also with one miss (1+0+0+0).

The final women’s event on the day, the 12.5 k visually impaired biathlon event, went to Oksana Shyshkova of Ukraine, who completed the course in a time of 45:06.4 with one miss (0+0+0+1). Her teammate Olga Prylutska claimed second in a time of 45:12.7 after tying Shyshkova’s shooting score. The final podium spot went to Germany’s Clara Klug, who shot 100 percent and completed the course in a time of 47:09.0.

In the men’s visually impaired 15 k biathlon event, Anthony Chalencon of France took first in a time of 44:20.2 after shooting clean, while Belarus’s Vasili Shaptsiaboi raced to a second place finish, clocking in at 44:58.2 and missing one shot (0+0+0+1). Also with one miss (0+0+1+0) was third place finisher, Iaroslav Reshetynskiy of Ukraine, who complete the course in a time of 44:58.8.

Results: Women | Men

Day 5: Women’s 6 k and Men’s 7.5 k Biathlon Events

Breaking Germany’s winning streak in the women’s sitting events, Belarus’s Lidziya Hrafeyeva claimed first in the 6 k sitting biathlon event on Thursday, Jan. 19, completing the course in a time of 24:06.3 after shooting 100 percent.

Germany’s Anja Wicker took second in a time of 25:30.1 with two missed shots (0+2), while her German teammate, Andrea Eskau took third in a time of 26:39.8 after four misses (1+3).

Taras Rad of Ukraine won the men’s 7.5 k standing biathlon event, clocking in at 23:40.8 after shooting clean.  Second place went to Dzmitry Loban of Belarus in a time of 24:40.2 after two missed shots (1+1), while third place went to Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi in a time of 25:08.8 after four missed shots (3+1).

Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova once again, won the women’s standing biathlon event, completing the 6 k course in a time of 18:29.5 after two misses (1+1). Second place went to her Ukrainian teammate Liudmyla Liashenko in a time of 19:10.7 after one miss (0+1). Rounding out the final podium spot was Iryna Bui, also of Ukraine, who clocked in at 20:27.4 after three missed shots (3+0).

The men’s 7.5 k standing biathlon event once again went to France’s Benjamin Daviet, who completed the course in a time of 21:01.1 after one miss (1+0). Tying his score for second place was Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset, who clocked in in a time of 21:49.4. Third place went to Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh, who completed the course in a time of 0 21:53.6 after two missed shots (2+0).

Olga Prylutska of Ukraine won the women’s 6 k visually impaired biahtlon event, clocking in in a time of 19:51.9 after two misses (1+1). Shooting clean was Germany’s Clara Klug, who completed the course in a time of 21:12.9 for second place. Oksana Shyshkova of Ukraine claimed the final podium spot in third, finishing in a time of 21:33.6 after four misses (2+2).

On the men’s side, Vitaliy Lukyanenko of Ukraine won the 7.5 visually impaired biathlon event, completing the course in a time of 22:29.8 after shooting 100 percent. Second place went to Iurii Utkin, also of Ukraine, in a time of 22:46.1 with two misses (1+1), while Ukraine’s Iaroslav Reshetynskiy earned third place after tying Utkin shooting score and clocking in at 23:01.1.

Results: Women | Men

Day 6: Women’s 10 k & Men’s 12.5 k Biathlon Events

The final week’s IPC event took place on Friday, Jan. 20 with athletes competing in a middle distance biathlon event.

Working her way back to the top of the results was Germany’s Andrea Eskau, who won the women’s 10 k sitting biathlon event in a time of 40:34.5 after missing two shots (0+1+0+1). Shooting clean was her teammate Anja Wicker, who claimed second in a time of 41:10.0. Third place went to Belarus’s Lidziya Hrafeyeva, who completed the course in a time of 43:35.2 after four missed shots (1+2+0+1).

Reaching the podium for the first time during the week on Friday was Germany’s Martin Fleig, who finished first in the men’s 12.5 k sitting biathlon event. After shooting 100 percent, Fleig clocked in at 40:21.4 for the win. Finishing behind Fleig in second was Belarus’s Dzmitry Loban, who clocked in at 40:29.6 after one miss (0+1+0+0). Third place went to Taras Rad of Ukraine in a time of 41:06.6 after two missed shots (0+1+0+1).

Completing a six-in-a-row winning streak was Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova, who claimed first in the women’s 10 k standing biathlon event in a time of 29:36.7 after shooting clean. Second place went to her teammate, Liudmyla Liashenko, who also shot 100 percent, and finished in a time of 31:09.6. The third and final podium spot went to their Ukrainian teammate, Iuliia Batenkova, who completed the course in a time of 33:18.9 after one miss (0+0+0+1).

Back on the podium on the men’s side was France’s Benjamin Daviet, who won the men’s 12.5 k standing biahtlon event in a time of 35:25.9 after shooting clean. Ihor Reptyukh claimed second place in a time of 35:50.1 after two missed shots (1+0+0+1), while Norwegian Nils-Erik Ulset took third in a time of 36:31.4 after shooting 100 percent.

Oksana Shyshkova won the women’s 10 k visually impaired biathlon event, clocking in in a time of 33:06.3 after two missed shots (1+1+0+0). Germany’s Clara Klug claimed second, finishing in a time of 36:29.2 with four misses (0+2+1+1), while Ukraine’s Olga Prylutska took third in a time of 36:58.0 after seven missed shots (1+2+2+2).

The men’s final event, the 12.5 k visually impaired biathlon event, went to Ukraine’s Vitaliy Lukyanenko, who clocked in in a time of 38:50.0 after shooting clean. Second place went to Anatolii Kovalevskyi,also of Ukraine, in a time of 39:11.0 after four missed shots (3+0+0+1). Rounding out the final podium spot in third was Ukraine’s Dmytro Suiarko, who finished in a time of 39:57.7 and missed three shots (3+0+0+0).

Results: Women | Men

— Gabby Naranja

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Second Cross-Country World Cup Win of the Week for Masters on Day 5 of IPC

After an exhibition relay event on Wednesday, paralympic nordic athletes returned to the competition venue on Thursday, Dec. 15 for Day five of the 2016/2017 International Paralympic Cup season’s opening races in Vuokatti, Finland. Thursday marked the men’s and women’s distance classic events, with Oksana Masters of the U.S. claiming her second cross-country World Cup win of the week, her third total. Full race recap and results detailed below.

***

If  U.S. paralympian Oksana Masters keeps it up, she may not only finish one International Paralympic Cup (IPC) season undefeated, but two in a row. The 27-year-old raced to her second cross-country World Cup win of the week on Thursday, putting down the fastest time for the women’s 12-kilometer classic sit ski race.

Masters covered the course in a time of 41:23.8, besting Belarus’s Lidziya Hrafeyeva, who finished behind Masters in second in a time of 43:09.5.

Another Belarusian skier, Liudmila Vauchok, took the final podium spot, completing the course in a time of 44:09.9 for third place overall.

In the men’s 15 k classic sit ski event, Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi took first place in a time of 44:32.3. Second went to Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin in a time of 45:25.9, while the U.S.’s  Daniel Cnossen took the final podium spot in third in time of 46:07.3.

American Andy Soule also competed in the event, finishing in 11th overall in a time of 50:53.3.

Ukraine saw another podium sweep in the women’s 15 k classic standing event with Oleksandra Kononova taking the top spot after covering the course in a time of 51:09.0. Second place went to Iuliia Batenkova and third to Liudmyla Liashenko. Batenkova finished in a time of 51:52.4 and Liashenko in 52:13.9.

The only North American woman to compete in the event, Brittany Hudak finished in fifth overall, clocking in at 54:45.7.

In the men’s 20 k classic standing event, Ukrainian ski racer Ihor Reptyukh claimed first, finishing in a time of 51:21.6. Finishing in a time of 51:59.6 was Finland’s lkka Tuomisto in second place overall, third went to Canada’s Mark Arendz who clocked in in a time of 52:14.1.

The women’s 15 k classic visually impaired race went to Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova, who finished in a time of 55:44.6. In second place overall was Austria’s Carina Edlinger in second in a time of 2 56:32.3. The final podium spot went to another Ukrainian Olga Prylutska, who finished in a time of 58:22.5.

The final event of the day, the men’s 20 k visually impaired event, was claimed by Sweden’s Zebastian Modin, who clocked in in a time of 52:48.6. France’s Thomas Clarion finished second in a time of 54:02.3, while the final podium spot went to  of Ukraine, who clocked in in a time of 54:29.3.
Results: Men | Women

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Three North Americans Reach the IPC Podium on Day 3 in Vuokatti

 

Monday, Dec. 11 marked Day three of the 2016/2017 International Paralympic Cup season’s opening competitions in Vuokatti, Finland. Athletes returned to the venue for the distance biathlon races, with Canada’s Mark Arendz and the U.S.’s Daniel Cnossen and Oksana Masters once again reaching the podium in their respective events. Full race recap and results detailed below.

***

Canada’s Mark Arendz rendered his second silver medal in a row after finishing second in the International Paralympic Cup (IPC) men’s 15-kilometer biathlon standing event on Monday, Dec. 11 which took place in Vuokatti, Finland.

“There were a few things I can take away from the race to work and improve on, but in the end, it was a solid day,” Arendz said according to a Cross Coutntry Canada press release. “Unfortunately I had the one miss in my third bout. It was a breathing error after a troublesome setup. But it is early in the race season. I’m ecstatic for the results I’ve been able to achieve so far.

Arendz completed the course in a time of 45:53.3 after one miss (0+0+1+0). In first place was Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset who covered the course in a time of 41:54.4 after shooting clean.

“For me it was the perfect race, I felt like I had good control from the start,” Ulset said during a television interview. “After the first round of shooting I felt really confident and knew what I was going to do for the rest of the race. It was one of the best races I have ever done.”

Rounding out the men’s biathlon standing  podium was France’s Benjamin Daviet who missed four shots (1+0+2+1) and completed the 15 k in a time of 46:21.5. American Ruslan Reiter also competed in Monday’s event, finishing in 15th overall.

Ukraine swept the women’s 12.5 k biathlon standing podium, with Oleksandra Kononova taking the win in a time of 42:47.9 after missing three shots (1+1+1+0) and her teammates Liudmyla Liashenko and Iuliia Batenkova placed second and third respectively. Liashenko completed the course in a time of 44:09.1 with three misses (2+0+0+1), while Batenkova finished in a time of 46:44.2, also with three misses (0+0+2+1).

Just outside of the podium was Canada’s Emily Young in fourth overall with two misses. Young completed the course in at time of 48:12.5.

American Daniel Cnossen reached the podium once again, this time in the men’s 15 k biathlon sitting event. Cnossen placed third after skiing the course in at time of 58:10.9 with four missed shots (1+2+0+1). Taking the win was Ukraine’s Taras Rad who shot 100 percent and skied the course in a time of 52:58.1. Behind Rad in second was Germany’s Martin Fleig with two misses (0+1+0+1), clocking in in a time of 54:33.8.

“The race was good,” Rad said during a television interview. It was a little bit difficult, but I tried my best.”

Also competing was the U.S’s Andrew Soule who finished in 10th overall and Canada’s Derek Zaplotinsky.

The second American to reach the podium on Monday was U.S. paralympic athlete, Oksana Masters. Masters raced to a second place overall in the women’s 12.5 k biathlon sitting event, clocking in in a time of 1:00:01.4 after five misses (0+4+0+1), while Germany’s Anja Wicker took the win in a time of 58:21.2 after shooting clean.

Rounding out the podium in third was Lidziya Hrafeyeva of Belarus. Hrafeyeva finished the 12.5 k in a time of 1:01:20.0 with three misses (1+1+1+0).

Another Ukrainian, Iurii Utkin, reached the podium in the men’s 15 k biathlon visually impaired event after completing the course in a time of 45:54.9 after shooting 100 percent. Finishing second overall Belarus’s Vasili Shaptsiaboi in a time of 47:05.5 after two missed shots (0+0+2+0). Ukraine’s Anatolii Kovalevskyi took the final podium spot, finishing third in at time of 1:01:20.0 with three misses (1+1+1+0).   

In Monday’s final ski race, Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova took the win in the women’s 12.5 k biathlon visually impaired race, completing the course in a time of 42:37.2 after shooting clean. Her Ukrainian teammate, Olga Prylutska finished second in a time of 45:11.9 after one miss (0+0+1+0). Also shooting clean and finishing in third overall was German skier Clara Klug, who completed the course in at time of 47:10.1.

Resuts: Men | Women

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Masters Claims First Biathlon World Cup Win on Day 2 in Vuokatti; Four Titles for Ukraine

Day two of the 2016/2017 International Paralympic Cup season’s opening races in Vuokatti, Finland took place on Saturday, Dec. 10, with many athletes returning to the trails for a biathlon sprint. U.S. paralympic ski team member, Oksana Masters tallied her second win in a row, while Canada’s Mark Arendz and American Daniel Cnossen also made the podium in their respective events. Full race recap and results detailed below.

***

While U.S. paralympic skier Oksana Masters has plenty of cross-country International Paralympic Cup (IPC) titles to her name–she ended last season undefeated in every cross-country event and opened this season with a win–Saturday marked her first victory in a biathlon World Cup.

“I feel completely shocked because Anja Wicker out shot me but I was able to ski a little faster to narrowly take the win,” Masters wrote in an email to FasterSkier.

Finishing first in the the women’s 6-kilometer biathlon sit sprint on Saturday in Vuokatti, Finland, Masters bested both Germany’s Anja Wicker and Belarus’s Lidziya Hrafeyeva to take the win. After a total of four missed shots (2+2), Masters completed the course in a time of 27:01.7.

Wicker meanwhile, shot clean and finished in a time of 27:59.9 for second place overall. Hrafeyeva missed five shots (3+2) and raced to a third place finish overall in a time of 28:39.6.

“There are many new faces which is always exciting,” She added, referring to the competition field in Vuokatti. “With these two wins so far I am happy knowing that my training is progressing well especially after switching Focus from skiing to cycling this past summer.”

A number of North American men were entered in the men’s 7.5 k biathlon sit sprint on Saturday, with American ski racer Daniel Cnossen claiming silver behind first place finisher, Dzmitry Loban of Belarus.

Loban won the 7.5 k sprint course in a time of 26:05.6 after one miss (0+1), while Cnossen clocked in at 26:06.7 after shooting 100 percent.

Rounding out the final podium spot was Germany’s Martin Fleig, who finished in a time of 26:21.9 after tying Loban’s shooting score.

U.S. paralympic skier, Andrew Soule finished the day in fifth overall, completing the course in a time of 27:49.0 after tying both Loban and Fleig’s shooting score. Two other North Americans raced the 7.5 k sprint, including American Aaron Pike who finished in 12th overall and Canada’s Derek Zaplotinsky who came in 13th.

Saturday saw Ukraine take first in all four of the remaining biathlon sprint divisions, with a full podium sweep by the country in the women’s standing biathlon sprint.

Oleksandra Kononova claimed the overall title in the women’s 6 k standing sprint, while her teammates Liudmyla Liashenko and Bohdana Konashuk took second and third respectively.

“Yesterday wasn’t so successful, I made some mistakes,” Kononova said during a television interview. “But it made today even better, it brought [me] more confidence.”

Kononova completed the course in a time of in a time of 20:51.4 after four misses (2+2) for the win. Liashenko missed two shots (2+0) and finished in a time of 20:56.4 for second place and Konashuk clocked in in a time of 21:59.5 with just one miss (1+0).

The lone North American in the women’s standing biathlon sprint, Canadian Brittany Hudak finished in sixth overall after completing the course in a time of 23:56.4 with two misses (1+1).

Despite feeling fatigued from yesterday’s cross-country standing sprint event, in which he placed third overall, Canada’s Mark Arendz raced to a second place on Saturday in the men’s standing biathlon 7.5 k sprint.

“I could feel yesterday’s effort in my legs,” Arendz said according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “The fitness was there but I wasn’t able to get into that next gear so I was a little disappointed to bleed so much time in the last lap.”

After shooting 100 percent, Arendz completed the course in a time of 19:39.4.

“My focus was on the range,” Arendz added. “although it wasn’t my best shooting I was able to clean to keep me in the race.”

Finishing ahead of Arendz and taking first was Ukrainian ski racer Ihor Reptyukh, who finished in a time of 19:31.0 after missing one shot (1+0).

The final podium spot in the men’s standing biathlon sprint went to France’s Benjamin Daviet who finished in a time of 19:44.6 after one miss (0+1).

Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova won her second race in a row, taking the women’s title in the women’s visually impaired 6 k biathlon sprint. Shyshkova shot clean, completing the course in a time of 21:11.5.

Her Ukrainian teammate Olga Prylutska finished in a time of 23:11.8 after one miss (1+0). Tying Prylutska’s shooting score was third place finisher Clara Klug of Germany in third place overall.

The men’s visually impaired 7.5 k biathlon sprint went to Anatolii Kovalevskyi of Ukraine, who completed the course in a time of 19:59.1 after cleaning. Iaroslav Reshetynskiy, also of Ukraine, reached Saturday’s podium after shooting clean and clocking in at 20:31.1. The final podium spot went to Belarus skier, Vasili Shaptsiaboi who tied Reshetynskiy and Kovalevskyi’s shooting scores and completed the 7.5 k course in a time of 20:39.1.

Results: Men | Women

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Masters and McKeever Emerge Victorious in Opening IPC Cross-Country Races in Vuokatti

The opening races for the 2016/2017  International Paralympic Cup season took place this past Friday, Dec. 9, in Vuokatti, Finland with a few North American names topping the podium in their respective events. For the U.S. women, Oksana Masters tallied her first win of the season in the sit sprint event, while Canada’s Brian McKeever won the men’s visually impaired classic sprint competition. Full race recap and results detailed below.

***

After she ended last season undefeated in every International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup cross-country event, U.S. paralympic athlete Oksana Masters kept her winning streak going when she took gold in the women’s cross-country sit sprint during the opening races of the IPC 2016/2017 season this Friday, Dec. 9.

With the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro just a few months behind her–she competed in the Rio Paralympic games as a handcyclist-– Master saw her victory on Day 1 of racing in Vuokatti, Finland as somewhat unexpected.

I just came off Rio and I only had a few weeks to train from cycling to skiing and especially on snow–we were only on snow for three weeks, so I was so nervous,” Masters said during a television interview. “I had no expectations.”

Masters crossed first in a time of 2:21.26 seconds, besting Norway’s Birgit Skarstein, who placed second in a time of 2:31.05 seconds and Finnish skier Sini Pyy who crossed in third in a time of 2:35.85 seconds.  

“I love the challenge. I’m so excited to see so many different classes of women’s sit skiers out here which makes it so fun,” Masters said, according to an IPC press release. “The final was really fun.”

In the men’s sit sprint event, it was Ukrainian ski racer Maksym Yarovyi who took the overall win, crossing in a time of 1:56.73 seconds. Second place went to Norwegian Trygve Steinar Larsen crossing in a time of 2:04.81, while third place went to Dzmitry Loban of Belarus in a time of 2:10.76.

American paralympic athlete Aaron Pike led Team USA in the men’s sit sprint event, placing fifth overall in a time of 2:07.45. U.S. paralympic teammates Daniel Cnossen and Andrew Soule made the semifinals, placing 9th and 11th respectively.

The lone Canadian in the men’s sit sprint event, Collin Cameron, also made the final and crossed in a time of 2:09.12 for sixth overall.

Earning her first ever World Cup win in the women’s standing classic sprint event, was Japan’s Yurika Abe, who took the victory in a time of 3:53.74.

“I am really surprised,” Abe said according to a IPC press release. “ It was a good time for me!”

Rounding out the women’s standing classic sprint podium was Ukrainian skier Iuliia Barenkova, who cross in second in a time of 3:59.23 seconds and Canada’s Emily Young finishing in a time of 4:13.89 seconds for third.

“What a day and great way to start the World Cup season,” Young said according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “My goal was to ski the fastest and smartest race I could, and be happy with any result.”

The men’s standing classic sprint went to Grygorii Vovchynskyi of Ukraine, who crossed first in a time of 3:04.87. Finnish skier Ilkka Tuomisto took second place in a time of 3:01.64 seconds, while Canada’s Mark Arendz secured the final podium spot in third, crossing in a time of 3:11.51 seconds.

“It was a tight finish, but I stayed calm and knew my skis would keep me in the fight,” Arendz said, according to a Cross Country Canada press release. “I came back onto the leaders. Lunging for the line I passed fourth place but couldn’t quite reach second. It was a fantastic way to start the new season, and confirms the work I’ve done over the summer is working. The fitness is there and I’m excited for the rest of the week.”

Also competing in the men’s standing classic sprint was the U.S.’s Ruslan Reiter, who finished in 21st overall.

In the women’s classic visually impaired sprint, another Ukrainian topped the podium, with Oksana Shyshkova finishing first in a time of 3:55.52 seconds. Austria’s Carina Edlinger crossed in second in a time of 3:56.81, while Germany’s Clara Klug took third in a time of 4:16.13.

Canada took home a gold in the men’s visually impaired classic sprint competition, with Brian McKeever emerging the overall winner at the end of Day 1. McKeever crossed in a time of 3:02.76, besting Sweden’s Zebastian Modin, who finished second in a time of 3:03.73 and Ukraine’s Iurii Utkin, who crossed third in a time of 3:17.70.

“Modin especially showed he’s the guy who has been coming up for years, and he gets better every year, so it’s still good to race against him and feel like I’m competitive in the sprints,” McKeever said according to an IPC press release. “The long distances are usually better. I’m happy, it was a good day. The skis were great, the technicians did a good job and everyone is in good spirits.”

Results: Men | Women

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McFadden Ties for Most Medals at Rio Paralympics; Pike 10th in Marathon

U.S. Paralympian Tatyana McFadden after taking silver in the women's final event of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games, the T54 marathon. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics Facebook)

U.S. Paralympian Tatyana McFadden after taking silver in the women’s final event of the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games, the T54 marathon, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/Facebook)

The 2016 Paralympic Summer Games wrapped up on last Sunday with the men’s and women’s T54 marathon road race, taking place on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After covering the 26.2-mile course amidst temperatures in the mid-80s, it came down to a photo finish between American Tatyana McFadden and China’s Lihong Zou.

Zou edged McFadden by a wheel for the win, and both finished in 1:38.44. McFadden, of Clarksville Md., took second for her sixth medal of the Games while her U.S. teammate Amanda McGrory, of Savoy, Ill., crossed one-hundredth of a second behind her for bronze.

“In London, I didn’t medal in the marathon because I had technical difficulties but here, it was great to come home with a silver,” McFadden, who has been competing since the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, Greece, told U.S. Paralympics, according press release. “I’ve worked really, really hard and it’s a great way to end the Games.”

The night before the marathon, McFadden won the women’s T54 800-meter in 1:44.73.  China’s Wenjun Liu finished 0.29 seconds behind her for silver, and Yingjie Li, also from China, was 0.5 seconds back in third. McGrory missed the podium in fourth by one-hundredth of a second.

McFadden’s medal count for these Games — four gold and two silver — is tied with U.S. swimmer Jesssica Long and is the most Paralympic medals earned by a U.S. track and field athlete since Bart Dodson won eight gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Games. McFadden has 17 career Paralympic medals, seven of which are gold.

“I have lots of homework,” she told NBC Sports. “I know what I need to do next time. Hopefully a little stronger and smarter. I’m ready for Tokyo [2020].”

Aside from McFadden and McGrory, two other U.S. women competed in the marathon, including Shirley Reilly, of Tucson, Ariz., who finished in fifth (+2.0) and Susannah Scaroni of Urbana, Ill., in seventh (+3.0). Chelsea McClammer, of Richland, Wash.,  did not finish.

Aaron Pike, a nordic skier from Park Rapids, Minn., placed 10th in the men’s marathon in 1:30.13, and was the only U.S. man to finish. Switzerland’s Marcel Hug won in 1:26.16, edging Australia’s Kurt Fearnley by 0.01 seconds. About 4 seconds after Hug, South Korea’s Dae Gyu Kim placed third.

Americans Josh George, of Herndon, Va., and James Senbeta, of Philadelphia, dropped out around the midway point.

Results:

Sept. 17:  Women’s T53 800

Sept. 18: Women’s T54 marathon | Men’s T54 marathon

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Update: No Russians in Rio, But Paralympians Not Banned from Pyeongchang

(Note: This post has been updated to include details about the IPC’s announcement on Thursday that it will not allow individual Russian athletes to participate at the Rio Paralympics, despite fielding more than 175 individual requests. Also, on Wednesday, the Swiss Federal Tribunal dismissed the Russian Paralympic Committee’s request for provisional measures to allow its athletes to participate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.)

***

After much confusion, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) reiterated in a statement earlier this week that Russia is not banned from the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, despite the Russian Paralympic Committee’s declaration that it was.

The IPC stated it was “currently in the process of developing the steps the Russian Paralympic Committee will need to take to meet its membership obligations” and “By rule, the Russian Paralympic Committee’s suspension will be lifted immediately following the Governing Board’s determination that the member is once again able to meet its membership obligations in full,” Insidethegames.biz reported.

The Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) initially posted on its website that its ban from the 2016 Rio Paralympics extended to Pyeongchang 2018.

“The decision taken by the IPC, upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding Russian Paralympians being excluded from the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, has also been extended to include the Winter Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang,” the RPC stated.

That statement appeared to have been altered Tuesday when the IPC clarified that the ban did not include 2018.

In the wake of a nationwide ban from Rio, the RPC confirmed that more than 100 of its athletes, which would have competed there, filed personal appeals. Russia also appealed to the Swiss Federal Court, which on Wednesday dismissed the RPC’s request to allow its athletes to compete in Rio.

The IPC fielded more than 175 letters from Russian Paralympic athletes and announced Thursday in a press release that it would not allow any of them to compete as neutral athletes at the Rio Games, which start Sept. 7.

“The IPC has considerable sympathy for all of the Russian athletes who are now unable to participate in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games,” IPC CEO Xavier Gonzalez said. “Indeed, the main goal of the IPC is to enable Para athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world. Tragically, however, the Russian authorities have denied their athletes this chance through their actions.

“Once the Russian Paralympic Committee demonstrates that it will be able in the future to enforce the IPC Anti-Doping Code vigorously and effectively, without interference, the IPC will be glad to welcome Russian athletes back to international competition,” he added.

Earlier this week, RPC President Vladimir Lukin insisted that the IPC never clarified criteria regarding membership restoration and said his committee wrote to the IPC seeking more information.

“We will be working with the IPC to find out what sort of a road map they are drafting or perhaps have already prepared,” Lukin said.

Unable to compete in Rio, Russia is reportedly organizing its own competition for its Summer Paralympians, set to take placed in Sochi or Crimea. President Vladimir Putin has promised prizes equal to those awarded to Olympians.

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Russian Paralympic Committee Appeal Dismissed

(Press release)

On Tuesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by the Russian Paralympic Committee against its suspension by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The IPC suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on Aug. 7 due to its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory).

Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: “We are greatly encouraged that the CAS Panel has upheld the IPC Governing Board’s unanimous decision to hold the Russian Paralympic Committee accountable for its membership responsibilities and obligations.

“Today’s decision underlines our strong belief that doping has absolutely no place in Paralympic sport, and further improves our ability to ensure fair competition and a level playing field for all Para athletes around the world.

“Although we are pleased with the decision, it is not a day for celebration and we have enormous sympathy for the Russian athletes who will now miss out on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.  It is a sad day for the Paralympic Movement, but we hope also a new beginning.  We hope this decision acts as a catalyst for change in Russia and we can welcome the Russian Paralympic Committee back as a member safe in the knowledge that it is fulfilling its obligations to ensure fair competition for all.

“The IPC Governing Board’s decision was taken with the best interests of the Paralympic Movement at heart, as was the IOC’s ruling for the Olympic Movement which I supported as an IOC Member during the IOC Session.

“As an autonomous organisation with a different governance structure to the IOC, the IPC’s decision was based on the fact that there is one sole IPC member in Russia responsible for both winter and summer Para sport.  We found that member – the Russian Paralympic Committee – not to be fulfilling its obligations in regards to the IPC Anti-Doping Code and World Anti-Doping Code and therefore decided to take the best course of action for the Paralympic Movement.

“Following this decision, our full focus is on sport and working with our partners to deliver a successful Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“Beyond Rio 2016, we will work with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to establish the criteria the Russian Paralympic Committee needs to meet in order to fulfil all its membership obligations and have its suspension lifted.

“We will also continue to work closely with the IPC Anti-Doping Committee and WADA on the measures to be taken to address the athletes implicated as part of the McLaren Report, including advice on results management.”

Following the CAS panel’s decision, the IPC will now work with International Federations to redistribute the 267 slots that had been secured by Russian athletes to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

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Russian Paralympic Committee Appeals Suspension

The Russian Paralympic Committee has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) suspended its membership, the IPC announced in a press release on Monday.

Based on an agreement between the two parties, the appeal will be heard by the CAS this Sunday, Aug. 21, and the CAS will announce its final decision by midnight (Central European Summer Time) on Monday, Aug. 22.

Just over a week ago, the IPC suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on Aug. 7 because it failed to comply with its IPC Anti-Doping Code and World Anti-Doping Code. Russia is hoping to compete in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, which start in early September, but is currently banned from all IPC competitions.

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Masters Takes Another Win and Fourth Individual Podium in Finsterau (Updated)

Three U.S. Paralympics Nordic skiers at the IPC World Cup in Finsterau, Germany, including Oksana Masters (r). "That's a wrap from Finsterau Germany! Oksana Masters hits the podium in 3rd in the final IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Biathlon race with great shooting! Veteran Teamers Andy Soule & Sean Halsted both had great performances here, as did our rookies Joy Rondeau (NSCD) & Mia Zutter (CXC Skiing) in their first international competitions. We are back here in 1 year for World Champs!" (Photo: U.S. Paralympics Nordic Program/Facebook)

Three U.S. Paralympics Nordic skiers at the IPC World Cup in Finsterau, Germany, including Oksana Masters (r). “That’s a wrap from Finsterau Germany! Oksana Masters hits the podium in 3rd in the final IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Biathlon race with great shooting! Veteran Teamers Andy Soule & Sean Halsted both had great performances here, as did our rookies Joy Rondeau (NSCD) & Mia Zutter (CXC Skiing) in their first international competitions. We are back here in 1 year for World Champs!” (Photo: U.S. Paralympics Nordic Program/Facebook)

By Gabby Naranja

(Note: This post has been updated to include comments from U.S. Paralympics Nordic coach Eileen Carey.)

Just as paramount to the prized top step of the podium is the process of getting there.

U.S. skier, Oksana Masters, can attest to that after spending the beginning of the season battling illness and then emerging with double victories at the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) World Cup races in Finsterau, Germany.

“I love to race and get excited on every start line,” Masters, who took her second win of the week in the women’s 1-kilometer sitting sprint on Saturday, Feb. 27, wrote in an email. “I unfortunately was sick for a majority of the racing season and I had to miss lots of intensity. When I was healthy to do intensity we made sure that it would be the most beneficial and get the most out of it. I was so shocked to race as well as I did in Finsterau.”

Masters crossed first in a time of 3:26.51. With the next series of races in Finsterau being the 2017 IPC World Championships, Masters regarded the World Cup good practice for next year’s competition.

“One of the challenges I had was the technicality of the course.” Masters wrote. “I am still learning how handle my sit ski without losing speed especially during the technical aspects. The biggest part [where] I am losing time is all in the technical parts of the course. So this year I took every opportunity to nail each technical aspect of the course one by one. This was great to practice…”

Finishing in second place was Maria Iovleva of Russia, and in third place was Andrea Eksau of Germany.

Another American Joy Rondeau also raced in Saturday’s sit sprint. She finished the day in ninth, missing the semifinal by one spot.

On Saturday, Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova not only celebrated her birthday, but also a tie for first with Russia’s Anna Milenina in the women’s 1 k freestyle standing sprint.

After review of the photo finish, jury members found the image too close to call and ruled both as winners in a time of 3:18.86. Ukraine’s Liudmyla Liashenko took the final podium spot in third.

Also competing in Saturday’s standing sprint was Canada’s Emily Weekes. Weekes advanced to the semifinal, where she finished eighth overall, just two spots off of advancing to the final. Lindsey McDonald, also of Canada, finished the day in 13th.

In the women’s final sprint event of the day, the 1 k visually impaired freestyle sprint, Russia’s Mikhalina Lysova won in a time of 3:23.25. Crossing the finish line after her was Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova in second and Elena Remizova of Russia in third. American Mia Zutter also competed in the visually impaired sprint, racing to an 11th place overall.

In the men’s field, it was a strong showing for Americans Andy Soule and Sean Halsted. Both advanced to the men’s 1 k sitting sprint final where Soule placed third and Halsted sixth.

“A great dayof racing and a lot of fun on SPRINT DAY! here in Finsterau,” Soule wrote on twitter, regarding Saturday’s race.

Russia’s Ivan Golubkov racked his third individual win of the week, finishing first in the sit sprint in a time of 2:55.18. Crossing in second place was Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi.

The three Canadian competitors, Collin Cameron, Derek Zaplotinsky, and Yves Bourque, all advanced to the semifinal where they finished ninth, 11th, and 12th, respectively.

In the men’s 1 k standing sprint, Russia’s Vladislav Lekomtsev took first in a time of 2:40.58, ahead of Russian teammate Rushan Minnegulov in second and Ukraine’s Grygorii Vovchynskyi in third.

Canada’s Mark Arendz raced to an eighth-place finish overall and teammates Louis Fortin and Andy Lin finished the day in 20th and 21st, respectively. 

The sprint final for the men’s visually impaired 1 k sprint saw a Russian sweep, with Stanislav Chokhlaev in first, Vladimir Udaltcov in second and Oleg Ponomarev in third.

Chokhlaev won the event in a time of 2:42.31, for his third individual victory of the week.

Results: Women | Men

Sunday: Fourth Podium for Masters in Third

The unexpected podiums, at times, are the most prized. After a six days of racing at the IPC World Cup in Finsterau, Masters closed the competition week with another podium in her final event on Sunday, Feb. 29: the women’s 10 k sitting biathlon race.

“Aahh this was such an amazing unexpected podium,” Masters wrote on Twitter after Sunday’s race. “My biathlon shooting is heading in the right direction.”

Previously, Masters had claimed two victories in Finsterau along with a second-place finish in last Monday’s biathlon sprint.

“The biathlon days were super tricky because it was so windy and often the wind would be so unpredictable between each shot the wind would change,” Masters wrote in an email. “Everyone is on the same course and is dealing with the same conditions and I tried to take it all as opportunity.”

Her third place-finish on Sunday made Masters four for four — all the individual races she entered, she finished on the podium. Masters completed the course in a time of 36:06.0 after skiing three penalty laps (0+0+1+2).

“I kept myself calm by not putting any expectations on myself especially for the biathlon, so I just focused on the technical skiing aspect and took the time in the range at the tempo of what I was comfortable with,” she wrote.

Ahead of Masters was Russia’s Svetlana Konovalova in first and Germany’s Anja Wicker in second. Konovalova finished in a time of 35:51.7 after three misses (0+2+0+1), while Wicker cleaned the four-stage race.

The second American to compete in the sitting biathlon event was Rondeau, who finished in eighth overall with eleven penalties (1+5+3+2).

In the women’s 10 k standing race, Kononova of Ukraine skied away victorious in a time of 30:50.5 and one penalty (0+0+1+0). Finishing in second was Russia’s Milenin , also with one miss (0+0+0+1). Taking the third podium spot was Ukraine’s Liashenko with two penalties (0+0+1+1).

Canada’s Weekes finished the day in sixth overall with two penalties (1+0+0+1).

Ukraine’s Shyshkova won the women’s 10 k visually impaired biathlon event in a time of 32:40.9 after shooting 100 percent. Lysova of Russia took second place with three misses (0+2+0+1) and Remizova third after missing four shots (1+2+1+0).

In the men’s biathlon events, Grigory Murygin of Russia won the 12.5 k sitting race in a time of 36:38.3 after shooting clean. Russian teammate, Roman Petushkov finished second, with one miss (0+0+0+1) and Germany’s Martin Fleig third with four penalties (0+0+0+4). Soule finished just off the podium in fourth after skiing four penalty laps (1+2+1+0).

“I have been focusing on some minor tweaks in my skiing form and range procedure that I identified with the help of my coaches earlier this year,” Soule wrote in an email regarding his progress this season.

“Both Andy and Oksana have made great gains this winter and the results from Finsterau were a reflection of those gains,” U.S. Paralympics Nordic coach Eileen Carey wrote in an email, recapping the week. “Andy was working on conserving energy in the sprint qualifier and semis to have enough juice left for a strong finals performance, and his medal in that event was indicative of that work.  He will continue to tweak his warm-up routine and his approach to semis to see what works best for him, but his strong performance in Finsterau was a good indication of what he is capable of.

“Oksana has been very strong in cross country and has been working hard on bringing her biathlon up to the same level,” Carey added. “She medaled in both of the biathlon events she competed in, and with the strongest field and in the trickiest wind we have seen yet this winter.  This was a huge step forward for her and I think gives her more confidence going into the World Cup finals this month in Finland.”

Halsted finished 10th in the final biathlon race with 10 misses (2+2+3+3). Zaplotinsky of Canada finished ninth after missing three shots (1+2+0+0) and Canadian teammate Cameron finished 11th, with 10 misses.

In the men’s 12.5 k visually impaired biathlon event, Chokhlaev came away with the title after shooting clean, completing the course in a time 33:44.6. Second place went to Nikolay Polukhin of Russia, who also cleaned. Finishing third, also with 100 percent shooting was Ukraine’s Oleksandr Kazik.

The final men’s biathlon event of the day, the men’s 12.5 k standing competition went to Russia’s Lekomtsev who shot clean and completed the course in 31:34.1. France’s Benjamin Daviet took second after one miss (0+0+0+1) and Russia’s Alexsandr Pronkov took the final podium spot in third with one penalty (0+1+0+0). Canada’s Arendz did not start on Sunday.

With the IPC World Cup in Finsterau complete, racers take a break before heading to Vuokatti, Finland, for the season-ending World Cups March 15-20.

“A full day of pouring rain in the beginning of the competition week put the trails in rough shape and the OC delayed one of the race days so we ended up racing four days in a row,” Carey explained. “It was the right decision for the courses and the race crew did an incredible job to make sure we had exceptional skiing for the event, but it made for a challenging schedule. Some athletes ended up sitting out a race they may have otherwise competed in, but others competed in all 4 races.  Ultimately, it turned out to be a great opportunity to work on recovery strategies.

“While we likely wouldn’t have a Games schedule that included that much racing, there are so many other factors in a Games situation that require a ton of energy,” she added. “Figuring out how to make sure you get what you need as an athlete to best prepare yourself for races is a critical skill and one we will always welcome improving upon.”

Results: Women | Men

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