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Experienced Winter Paralympians and Cross-Over Summer Paralympians Lead U.S. Team to Sochi

 

by Mark Vosburgh, FasterSkier Paralympic Nordic Contributor.

Andy Soule. Men's 15 K Nationals Soldier Hollow 2014.

Returning 2010 winter paralympic biathlon medalist Andy Soule at the U.S. National Championships, Soldier Hollow 2014.  Photo Victor Henderson.

 

Led by of three returning athletes from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympic team and three cross-over athletes from the 2012 London Paralympic Games, U.S. Paralympics announced its nominees to compete in biathlon and cross-country skiing at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, March 7-16.

The team consists of:

Women

Monica Bascio (Evergreen, Colo.)
Oksana Masters (Louisville, Ky.)
Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Md.)
Beth Requist (Winter Park, Colo.)

Men

Jake Adicoff (Sun Valley, Idaho)
Omar Bermejo (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Kevin Burton (Boulder, Colo.)
Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kan.)
Travis Dodson (Deming, N.M.)
Sean Halsted (Spokane, Wash.)
John Oman (Rice Lake, Wis.)
Augusto Perez (East Syracuse, N.Y.)
Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minn.)
Bryan Price (Belton, Mo.)
Andy Soule (San Antonio, Texas)
Jeremy Wagner (Nanakuli, Hawaii)

Guides

David Chamberlain (Wilton, Maine)
Reid Pletcher (Ketchum, Idaho)

 

Andy Soule returns to defend his biathlon bronze medal from Vancouver.  Soule is the only U.S. athlete to bring home a biathlon medal in either Paralympic or Olympic competition.

Monica  Bascio is a two time Winter Paralympic nordic skier (2006 Torino and 2010 Vancouver). She is also a world champion and 2012 London Paralympic medalist in hand cycling.

Sit-skier Sean Halsted (Vancouver 2010) is the final returning member or the team.

Oksana Masters

Top nordic sit-skier Oksana Masters at U.S. National Championships.  Photo Victor Henderson

Skiing newcomers Oksana Masters (rowing) and Tatyana McFadden (track and field) are both medalists from the London 2012 Paralympic Games.   

Masters appears to be one of the top hopes for a U.S. medal at the games against a home Russian team that has dominated World Cup competition this season.  A quick study for her new sport and a fierce competitor who began skiing only two years ago, Masters claimed two world cup podiums (bronzes) this season at Canmore, Alberta and Oberstdorf, Germany.
 

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

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

McFadden is a world champion wheelchair racer who recently became the first person to win the grand slam of marathons winning Boston, New York, Chicago and London.  Her ski racing performance has steadily improved as she gained international ski racing experience this season. She notched top 10 ten finishes in all of her races at Oberstdorf in January.  Her best was a seventh place finish in the middle distance race.

Dan Cnossen (L) and Sean Halsted.  U.S. Nationals. Photo Victor Henderson.

Sean Halsted (L) and Dan Cnossen. U.S. Nationals. Photo Victor Henderson.

Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen is attending is first Winter Paralympic Games.  He has emerged last year as a team leader last season with several world cup podiums to his credit.

U.S. Paralympic Coach James Upham (L) and HIgh Performance Director John Farra

U.S. Paralympic Coach James Upham (L) and HIgh Performance Director John Farra

The team is lead by John Farra, the first High-Performance Director of the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Program.  Farra, an Olympic cross-country skier and former-U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association nordic director, is credited with building a U.S team nearly triple the size of the team that the U.S. fielded for 2010 Vancouver Paralympic  Games.

The team is currently training at elevation in Winter Park, Colorado.   From there they travel to Italy for a short stay to adjust to the time change before chartering a flight to Sochi in March.

 

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