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Masters, McKeever Open with Canmore IPC World Cup Podiums

Oksana Masters (R) 3rd Place Womens 5k Sit Ski Race IPC World Cup Canmore

Oksana Masters (R) 3rd Place Womens 5k Sit Ski Race IPC World Cup Canmore. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics Nordic Program)

Just over a year ago at the 2013 U.S. Adaptive Cross Country Championships, Okasana Masters entered her first sit-ski race.

With only seven days of skiing experience, the 24-year-old Paralympic bronze medalist (in para rowing), discovered a connection to her new winter sport.  “I like the intensity and the toughness [nordic skiing] has and the competitiveness,” she told FasterSkier in January.

Masters Training at Canmore Nordic Centre November 2013

Masters Training at Canmore Nordic Centre November 2013. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics Nordic Program)

Fast forward to the 2013 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup in Canmore, Alberta, where Masters’ competitiveness was evident as she earned  her first World Cup podium, placing third in the women’s 5 k sit ski,  54.3 seconds behind Norwegian winner Mariann Marthinse.  Russia’s Marta Zaynullina finished second.

Masters’ previous World Cup finish was sixth place in the sprint at Cable,  Wisconsin last season.  She has trained this summer and fall with the US Paralympics Nordic Team at camps in Park City, Utah, Oberhof, Germany and Canmore, Alberta.

Canada’s Colette Bourgonje, a 10-time Paralympic medalist and FasterSkier 2012-2013 Adaptive Cross Country Skier of the Year finished in fourth place.

Five-time U.S. para-cycling world champion Monica Bascio placed 10th, and American Tatyana McFadden, a nordic newcomer with 10 Paralympic medals and multiple world titles in wheelchair racing, finished 11th. A 2013 national champion, Beth Requist (USA) placed 14th.

Canada's Brian McKeever racing at 2013 Canadian Nationals in Whistler, British Columbia.

Canada’s Brian McKeever racing at 2013 Canadian Nationals in Whistler, B.C.

Canada’s Brian McKeever continued his World Cup dominance, winning the 10 k visually impaired  race on his home course at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Americans Jacob Adicoff finished seventh and Kevin Burton placed 11th.

Russia swept the top three in the men’s 10 k sit ski, and Canadian Chris Klebl took fourth. Dan Cnossen led the U.S. in ninth, and the bulk of his team was bunched together in 15th through 20th, with Winter Paralympian Sean Halsted in 15th, 2010 Paralympic biathlon bronze medalist Andy Soule in 16th, Travis Dodson 17th, Aaron Pike 18th, Jeremy Wagner 19th, and Augusto Perez 20th.  David Poole of Bozeman, Mont,  finished 26th.

Masters’ and McKeever’s medals were  bright spots for the US and Canada on a day dominated by the Russians, who won 13 medals.  Out of 100 athletes from 12 different nations, the Russian team brought 42 athletes to Canmore.

Russia will host the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi in early March.

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