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Masters Leads U.S. Paralympic Athletes at Oberstdorf IPC World Cup

by Mark Vosburgh

Oksana Masters in downtown Oberstdorf  with her third place award for her 12 K race.

Oksana Masters in downtown Oberstdorf with her third place award for her 12 K race.  Photo U.S. Paralympic Nordic Program.

The U.S. Paralympic nordic program brought a select group of it’s top athletes to Oberstdorf, Germany to compete in the IPC Nordic World Cup.

The US came away with a world cup podium, a bronze by sit skier Oksana Masters, and strong performances from former Paralympian Sean Halsted (Vancouver 2010) and skiing newcomer and champion wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden.

Masters medal, her second this season, came in the women’s 12 kilometer event.   Her first was a bronze in the five K race at the Canmore, Alberta world cup in December.

After her Canmore medal race, Masters said ” I went Into the the race with the mind set of I’m not going to be top five but I wanted to try my darn hardest to make it in the top 10.”

I asked U.S Paralympic High Performance Director John Farra, if he thought Masters was starting to believe that she is the world class skier her results demonstrate that she is.  Farra wrote this response in an email.  “I think it is fair to say she is starting to believe it yes… She is so competitive and really was pumped to get on the podium in Oberstdorf.   She has really refined her technique to a very smooth, powerful and efficient motion, …  She will get there.”

Masters podiums have come in the long and middle distance races.

Farra commented on Masters’ potential in short races, “She might have had a chance to [reach the podium at Oberstdorf] in the sprint as well, but she took a pretty good crash midway through the course when trying to pass a skier from Poland.”

She placed fourth in the sprint  finals at Canmore after an “unlucky tangle”  during the race.

2010 Vancouver Paralympian Sean Halsted racing at Soldier Hollow National championships in January.

2010 Vancouver Paralympian Sean Halsted racing at Soldier Hollow National championships in January.  Photo Victor Henderson

The men’s team was lead by 2010 Paraympian Sean Halsted who reached the semi finals and finished 10th in the sprints.  He placed 12th in the 15 K  race and 14th in the 10 K event.

Americans Dan Cnossen and Andy Soule finished 14th and 16th in the 15 K event.     Soule was 18th and Cnossen 19th in the 10 K race.

 

Halsted’s best race in Vancouver was the distance race where he finished fourth by staying strong while others fell off the pace.   Farra noted, ” This past Long XC in Oberstdorf had a similar patterns [to Vancouver] and I know he has more to give.   He is putting everything into this and I for one am excited to see how far he can take it.”

 

Tatyana McFadden racing at US nationals Soldier Hollow.

Tatyana McFadden racing at US nationals Soldier Hollow. Photo Victor Henderson

World wheelchair racing champion and skiing newcomer Tatyana McFadden continued her improvement in her new sport. McFadden had top 10 finishes in all of her races placing seventh in the middle distance, ninth in the long distance event.

McFadden, who’s goal has been to learn and improve her skiing technique finished fifth in the sprints, the most technically demanding race at the event. About McFadden, Farra said, “She has made significant improvements in the past few weeks .. really closing the gaps between herself and the top skiers.”

 

McFadden is taking full advantage of her world cup racing experiences to improve.  Farra continued,  ” She has become a real student of the sport… always asking what line might be best… inside or out of the tracks etc.   We have worked hard to get the athletes to inspect the courses before the race… not just warm up so they can SEE where the challenges are.. she is learning a lot in this way and she is excited to keep moving up the results list.”

The U.S. athletes will stay in Germany for the IPC Oberried World Cup Biathlon  event January 23 – 26.

 

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  1. I always respect Athletes because always they give us fun and inspire by their hard playing.