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Masters Breaks Up Russian XC Sweep; Soule on the Podium at Finsterau World Cup

Oksana Masters racing to a cross-country distance victory at the IPC World Cup at Finsterau, Germany. (Photo: US Paralympics Nordic/Facebook)

Oksana Masters racing to a cross-country distance victory on Day 3 of the IPC World Cup in Finsterau, Germany. (Photo: US Paralympics Nordic Program/Facebook)

By Gabby Naranja

Scientific research suggests the loss of one sense sharpens the others. In biathlon for visually impaired skiers — who must detect the targets using auditory tonal cues — this finding holds a high ring of truth. Though tracking down target centers using sound alone seems superhuman, Russian para-nordic skier Stanislav Chokhlaev proved when it comes to aiming using his ears, he’s one of the best.

With just one miss (0+1), Chokhlaev topped the men’s 7.5-kilometer visually impaired biathlon sprint last Monday, Feb. 22, kicking off the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) World Cup races in Finsterau, Germany, with a win.

Besting Russian teammate Nikolay Polukhin, Chokhlaev completed the men’s three-loop race in a time of 24:34.1 for the overall win. With two misses, Polukhin settled in second place overall. Third place went to Ukraine’s Iurii Utkin, who shot clean.

The Russian reign over the top spot continued, with Ivan Golubkov finishing first in the men’s 7.5 k sitting biathlon event. After skiing five penalty laps (3+2), Golubkov won in a time of 26:10.4.

Andy Soule after placing third on the first day of the IPC World Cup in Finsterau, Germany, with teammate Sean Halsted, who placed 10th, giving him a thumbs up as well. (Photo: US Paralympics Nordic/Facebook)

Andy Soule after placing third on the first day of the IPC World Cup in Finsterau, Germany, with U.S. teammate Sean Halsted, who placed 10th, giving him a thumbs up as well. (Photo: US Paralympics Nordic/Facebook)

Racing to a second-place finish on his home course was Germany’s Martin Fleig with two misses (1+1). Tying Fleig’s shooting score was American Andy Soule, who snagged the day’s final podium spot in third place overall.

“These races have been really good for me from a mental standpoint.” Soule wrote in an email. “I am definitely starting to see progress on some of the minor changes in my skiing form and shooting procedure that I have been working on for a long time.”

U.S. skier and Air Force Veteran, Sean Halsted raced to 10th place, with the same shooting score as race winner Golubkov.

Two Canadians, Derek Zaplotinsky and Collin Cameron also competed in the sitting biathlon race. Zaplotinsky placed 12th after nine penalties (4+5) and Cameron finished behind his teammate in 13th with five misses (1+4).

The final men’s event of the day, the 7.5 k biathlon standing sprint went to France’s Benjamin Daviet who cleaned his shooting and completed the course in a time of 23:47.4.

Finishing behind him in second and third, respectively, were Russia’s Alexsandr Pronkov and Vladislav Lekomtsev. Pronkov also shot clean, while Lekomtsev completed two penalty loops (1+1).

Canadian Mark Arendz competed in the biathlon standing sprint and raced to ninth place –just outside of earning World Cup points — with five misses (2+3).

In the women’s 6 k biathlon competitions, Ukraine took the top two spots in the visually impaired event, Oksana Shyshkova winning over teammate Olga Prylutska. After shooting 100 percent, Shyshkova completed the women’s three-loop race in a time of 24:14.1 for first place. Prylutska missed one shot (0+1) and raced to second overall. Shooting clean, third place went to Germany’s Vivian Hosch.

The lone North American racing in the visually impaired biathlon event, American Mia Zutter finished in 10th, after skiing five penalty laps (4+1).

In the women’s 6 k biathlon sitting sprint, Russian skier Irina Guliaeva took first in a time of 24:05.7 after two misses (1+1). American Oksana Masters raced to second place with two misses (0+2). Rounding out the top three was Russia’s Nadezhda Fedorova in third with three penalties (2+1).

The second American to compete in the event, Joy Rondeau raced to a seventh place after skiing nine penalty laps (4+5).

The final women’s event of Day 1, the 7.5 k standing biathlon sprint, saw a double podium finish for Ukraine, with Oleksandra Kononova in first and teammate Liudmyla Liashenko in second. After shooting clean, Kononova completed the women’s three-loop standing course in a time of 23:23.4. Liasheko missed three shots (1+2) to finish second, ahead of third-place finisher Anna Milenina of Russia, who missed five (2+3).

Day 1 Results: Men | Women

Day 2

The second day of racing in Finsterau brought competitors out for a 4 x 2.5 k mixed gender and open relay.

Russia took the top two spots in the mixed relay, with their first four-person team of Fedorova, Milenina, Mikhalina Lysova, and Polukhin finishing first in 30:45.9. Russia’s second team, with Irina Guliaeva, Elena Remizova, Aleksandr Davidovich, and Stanislav Chokhlaev, finished 3.8 seconds later in second place.

Ukraine took third (+45.5), with their three-person team of Utkin, Kononova, and Liashenko. 

Just out off the podium was Canadian in fourth (+1:42.2), with Chris Klebl, Emily Weekes, Brittany Hudak, and Arendz comprised Canada’s mixed team relay.

“We get few opportunities to race together as a team so it was great to race well,” Arendz said in a team press release. “Our team is improving regularly since last year’s World’s Championships so it is good to be heading in the right direction.”

In the open relay, Russia once again won, with the four-person team of Roman Petushkov, Lekomtsev, Ivan Kodlozerov, and Rushan Minnegulov taking gold in 28:18.8.

Ukraine finished second, 10.3 seconds back, with Iaroslav Reshetynskiy, Ihor Reptyukh, Maksym Yarovyi, and Anatolii Kovalevskyi.

Rounding out the podium was France’s three-person open relay team of Benjamin Daviet, Anthony Chalencon, and Thomas Clarion for third place (+20.5).

Canada’s four-person open relay team of Lindsey McDonald, Andy Lin, Yves Bourque, and Louis Fortin finished ninth overall (+12:01.8).

Day 2 results: Mixed Relay | Open Relay

Day 3

Every distance cross-country victory on Day 3 went to Russia — except for one. The sole non-Russian winner last Thursday, Masters of the U.S. won the women’s 12 k classic sitting distance event in a time of 37:48.9.

Masters bested her closest competitors by almost a minute, with Russian second-place finisher Nadezhda Fedorova finishing 47.8 seconds off Master’s time and Russian skier Irina Guliaeva, finishing 55.9 seconds back.

“Awesome race today by an incredible athlete and great teammate,” Soule posted with a photo of Masters on Twitter.

The second U.S. competitor for the day was Rondeau, who finished in seventh (+9:41.3) garnering World Cup points as well.

The rest of the Thursday’s winning spots all went to Russia. Setting the streak was Russia’s Milenina winning the women’s 15 k classic standing competition in a time of 47:23.6.

Finishing 28.3 seconds behind Milenina’s time in second, was Ukraine’s Kononova. The final podium spot in the 15 k classic went to Ekaterina Rumyantseva of Russia, who finished 3:38.6 behind her teammate.

Three Canadian women competed in Thursday’s 15 k classic standing event. Hudak finished in sixth (+4:09.4), Weekes was seventh (+6:26.7) and McDonald in 12th (+25:27.3).

In the women’s 15 k classic visually impaired cross-country competition, Russia racked up its second win, with Mikhalina Lysova finishing first in a time of 48:03.5. Just 10.5 seconds behind Lysova’s winning time was Russian teammate, Elena Remizova in second. Third place (+2:41.4) went to Ukraine’s Shyshkova, the winner of Monday’s biathlon sprint.

Russia tallied their third victory of the day with Golubkov’s win in the men’s 15 k classic sitting event. In his second individual first place finish of the week, Golubkov completed the 15 k in a time of 40:02.1.

Russian teammate Aleksandr Davidovich finished in second (+1:35.0) and Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi in third (1:51.7). Just outside of the podium, Soule placed fourth (+2:13.1) and U.S. teammate  Halsted finished sixth (+4:01.1).

“The men’s sit field is very strong in IPC nordic, and I was up against some great skiers every day,” Soule wrote in an email. “I just have to approach each race one at a time, and focus on good procedure, technique, and recovery for the next day.”

The three Canadian men in the 15 k sit ski event, all earned World Cup points with Cameron finishing in ninth (+7:52.0), Zaplotinsky 10th (+8:33.7) and Bourque 11th (+9:53.3). Klebl did not start.

“It was a tough day with icy conditions and we may have missed the wax a bit, but the team put in a solid effort today,” Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team Head Coach Robin McKeever said in a press release. “Our goal for this trip was to leverage this World Cup to provide some elite level competition for our development opportunities. That was a surprise and very strong effort by Collin today who is showing tremendous potential.”

The men’s 20 k classic standing race saw Russia’s Minnegulov top the podium, after he raced the 20 k course in a time of 47:55.5. Finishing 34.9 seconds behind Minnegulov in second place was Ukraine’s Reptyukh. Another Ukrainian secured a podium spot, with Grygorii Vovchynskyi finishing 39.4 seconds behind his teammate in third (+1:14.3).

Russia’s Chokhlaev added another individual victory to his list, after he won the third men’s event of the day: the 20 k classic visually impaired race.

Chokhlaev completed the course in a time of 50:15.6, besting his teammate Alexsander Artemov by 1:18.4. Finishing in third after Artemov was Ukrainian skier Dmytro Suiarko, 1:41 behind Chokhlaev’s time.

Day 3 results: Women | Men 

Day 4 

As the sun finally broke through the clouds on Day 4 of the IPC World Cup in Finsterau, so did a few familiar as well as new names to the top spots. Russia’s Petushkov raced to his first win of the week, Germany’s Fleig finishing behind him  for his second runner-up finish, this time in the men’s 15 k sitting biathlon race.

“Due to the improved weather, the track was much better than during my race on Monday [the sprint],” Fleig said in an interview with the IPC. “It was really fun competing with sunshine rather than rain and snow. Although the sun was a little tricky during shooting.”

Fleig missed one shot (0+0+1+0) and finished in a time of 45:13.0, while the race winner Petushkov also skied one penalty (0+1+0+0), but finished 7.1 seconds faster in a time of 45:05.9. With two penalties (2+0+0+0), third place went to Russia’s Golubkov. 

The top American male for the day, Soule finished in eighth overall after skiing five penalty laps (1+0+3+1). Finishing just behind Soule in ninth was Halsted, also with five misses (1+2+1+1). Canada’s Zaplotinsky finished in 11th with eight penalties (1+1+2+4).

“The organizers did a great job, and had an especially challenging time when it started raining on the day after opening.” Soule wrote in an email. “They had to move a race back one day, but put the courses back together really well. Overall it was a beautiful venue with great courses and I am looking forward to competing here again next year at world championships.”

In the men’s biathlon 15 k biathlon standing event, Ukraine’s Reptyukh shot 100 percent and won in a time of 37:35.3.  In second place was Russia’s Lekomtsev with one miss (0+0+0+1). Tying Reptyukh’s shooting was Ukrainian teammate, Vovchnskyi in third.

Canada’s Arendz placed fifth, after shooting 19-for-20 (0+0+0+1).

The third men’s event on Friday included the men’s 15 k visually impaired biathlon race.  After shooting clean, Russia’s Polukhin won in 39:41.4. Ukraine’s Kovalevskyi finished second with one penalty (0+0+0+1) and teammate Utkin finished in third with two penalties (1+0+1+0).

On the women’s side, Russia’s Guliaeva won the women’s 12.5 k sitting biathlon race, completing the course in 41:25.0 with 20-for-20 shooting.

Germany’s Anja Wicker raced to a second place finishing after also shooting 100 percent.

“The race was fun and the weather has improved a lot,” Wicker said in an IPC press release. “With nearly no wind the shooting went smooth.”

In third place was Russia’s Fedorova with four penalties (1+0+2+1).

Contributing to Ukraine’s week winnings was Liashenko in the 12.5 k standing biathlon race. Liashenko cleaned and won the event in a time of 37:45.4. Finishing behind her time in second was Russia’s Rumyantseva with one miss (1+0+0+0). The third podium spot went to Natalia Bratiuk of Russia after skiing one penalty loop (0+0+1+0).

Canada’s Weekes and Hudak finished in ninth and 11th, respectively. Weekes missed five shots (0+1+2+2) and Hudak had 10 penalties (1+1+3+5).

The third women’s event of the day, the women’s 12.5 k visually impaired biathlon race , went to Ukraine’s Shyshkova. After cleaning, Shyshkova completed the course in a time of 38:41.7. Second-place finisher Lysova of Russia missed two shots (0+1+1+0). After one penalty (0+0+0+1), Germany’s Hosch raced to a third pace overall.

Day 4 results: Men | Women

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Masters with Back-to-Back Wins; Arendz Tops Biathlon Race; 4 Podiums for Soule in Pyeongchang

Note: This post has been updated to include comments from Andy Soule.

Many Olympic hopefuls and athletes know the importance of practice in relation to performance. After Pyeongchang, South Korea, was named the host site for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, athletes from the U.S., Canada, China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea got plenty of competition practice on the course trails during the 2016 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Nordic Skiing Asian Cup, which took place this year Jan. 28 until Feb. 1.

Day 1

The IPC Asian Cup began last Thursday, Jan. 28, with a cross-country classic sprint.

A member of the U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing team, Oksana Masters — a bronze medalist in rowing at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, silver medalist in the women’s 12-kilometer freestyle classic sitting event and bronze medalist in the 5 k classic sitting event at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi — won the women’s 1.1 k classic sitting sprint final on Thursday in a time of 2:59.37.

Finishing in second after Masters was Russia’s Svetlana Konovalova ahead of her teammate Irina Guliaeva, who crossed in third.

In the women’s 1.4 k classic standing sprint, Russia’s Ekaterina Rumyantseva took the win, completing the course in a time of 4:45.95.

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

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

Brittany Hudak of the Canadian Para-Nordic World Cup Team finished second in a time of 4:52.99.

“I am really happy with my overall performance [Thursday],” Hudak said in team press release. “I really tried to focus on skiing with efficient technique and with good skis on my feet. I’m super pleased that I felt strong in the final,” she added.

In third was Japanese skier, Yurika Abe completing the 1.4 k course in 5:09.7.

The first day of racing for the men saw two Russians in the top two for the men’s 1.1 k classic sit sprint podium.

Aleksandr Davidovich place first in a time of 2:45.29. His teammate Roman Petuschkov finished second overall.

American Andy Soule also ended the day on the podium, racing to a third place.

In the men’s 1.4 k classic standing sprint, Russia once again took the top spot, with Vladislav Lekomtsev winning the event in a time of 3:49.26.

Canadian biathlon specialist Mark Arendz raced to a second place overall in the cross-country event, clocking in at 3:56.17.

“It was a great start to the year. For a first race, there were a few little things that I still need to work on, but overall I’m happy with the performance,” said Arendz in a press release.

“I worked hard on my classic skiing in training so it is rewarding to see it come together. To be near the front of a very competitive field is very satisfying,” he added.

Third in the men’s 1.4 k classic standing sprint was Japanese ski racer Yoshihiro Nitta, finishing in a time of 4:00.37.

Japan’s Kazuto Takamura placed first in the third men’s event on Thursday, the 1.4 k classic visually impaired sprint. Takamura completed the course in a time of 5:00.10. In second was South Korea’s Bogue Choi, who finished in 5:01.39.

Day 2

Friday, Jan. 29, marked the second day of racing for athletes at the Pyeongchang Asian Cup, with the middle-distance freestyle cross-country events.

Masters once again outmatched her competition peers, winning the women’s 2.5 k freestyle sit-ski in a time of 8:29.1, claiming her second victory in a row in Pyeongchang.

The previous day’s Russian podium finishers flip-flopped places, with Guliaeva moving up to second place (8:58.2) and her teammate Konovalova finishing in third (9:27.0).

In the women’s 7.5 k freestyle standing event, Rumyantseva stood atop the podium once more, after racing to first place in a time of 18:28.4.

Another Russian, Natalia Bratiuk finished second, completing the 7.5 k course in 19:49.9.

Canadian newcomer and a former wrestler, Emily Weekes made reached the podium in third (19:59.8).

“My goal for wrestling was to compete at the Olympics in 2018. And so now to have a second chance, even though it’s not able-bodied and it’s not wrestling,” Weekes said in a press release, “It’s a lot of catch up, but it’s really exciting.”

Friday for the men proved Russia’s Davidovich again unbeatable, as he raced to his second victory, this time in the men’s 5 k freestyle sit event, in a time of 14:51.5.

World Cup podium veteran Chris Klebl of Canada, raced to second place behind Davidovich (15:17.9).

Soule raced to another third-place finish, crossing the line in 15:19.2.

The men’s 10 k freestyle standing event was dominated by the Russians, with all three podium spots taken by Russia.

Rushan Minnegulov claimed first in a time of 20:11.7. His teammates Lekomtsev (20:17.8) and Aleksandr Pronkov (20:18.4) crossed in second and third respectively.

The men’s 10 k freestyle visually impaired event saw Japan’s Takamura again in first (26:48.4) and South Korean Choi in second (27:22.9).

Day 3

After a day of rest, racing picked up again on Sunday with biathlon sprints.

IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Championships silver medalist, Konovalova won the women’s 6 k sitting biathlon sprint in a time of 20:47.4, with one miss (0+1).

In second was her Russian teammate Guliaeva, who completed the course in 21:20.2 with three misses (1+2). Masters crossed in third (23:03.1) also with three misses (0+3).

Russia’s Rumyanseva continued her winning streak, claiming yet another victory in the women’s 6 k standing biathlon sprint in a time of 19:21.6 and shot clean (0+0).

Russian teammate Bratiuk matched her result from Friday, finishing Sunday’s 6 k biathlon standing sprint event in second (21:36.5) with one miss (1+0).

Japan’s Abe also finished on the podium in third (22:57.5) with two misses (2+0).

With perfect shooting the most decorated single athlete at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, Russia’s Petushkov top the charts in the men’s 7.5 k sitting biathlon sprint on Sunday, finishing in a time of 23:08.3.

In his third podium of the week, Soule placed second (24:25.6) with four misses (2+2).

Rounding out the top three was Russian Gregory Murygin (24:41.2) with three misses (1+2).

The men’s 7.5 k standing biathlon sprint on Sunday witnessed Pronkov in first in a time of 18:32.4 with one miss (1+0).

Canada’s Arendz came in second (18:52.8) also with one miss (1+0). Third place finisher, Ivan Kodolozerov shot clean and completed the course in 19:03.2.

South Korea’s Choi was the lone competitor in the men’s 7.5 k visually impaired biathlon sprint and completed the course in 27:26.6 with four misses (3+1).

Day 4

Mark Arendz on his way to winning the men’s 12.5 standing biathlon on Monday at the IPC Asian Cup in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Photo: CCC)

Mark Arendz on his way to winning the men’s 12.5 standing biathlon on Monday at the IPC Asian Cup in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Photo: CCC)

The final day of racing in Pyeongchang got underway on Monday with biathlon distance events.

Results in the women’s 10 k biathlon sitting event witnessed a repeat podium order from Sunday. Russia’s Konovalova shot 100 percent and once again came away victorious in a course time of 34:01.5.

With just one penalty, teammate Guliaeva came in second (34:29.4) and Masters, who missed five (3+2+0+0), finished in third (39:50.9).

Russia’s Rumyantseva remained undefeated, coming away triumphant in the women’s 10 k standing biathlon event in a winning time of 34:15.3 with one penalty (0+0+1+0).

Teammate Bratiuk maintained her previous place, finishing in second (37:37.6) with one miss in her final round of shooting (0+0+0+1).

Japan’s Momoko Dekijima reached the podium in third (38:45.7) with two misses (1+0+1+0).

In the final day of racing for the men, Russia’s Murygin moved up, winning the men’s 12.5 k sitting biathlon event on Monday in a time of 41:40.4 with two misses (1+0+0+1).

Despite seven penalties (2+2+1+2), Soule ended the day in second (42:25.2) for his fourth-consecutive podium in as many races in South Korea.

“I felt fit and fast,” Soule wrote in an email about his week. “There are some minor technique adjustments that I am working on with my coach, but overall I feel great about the way I am racing.
“The organizers did a fantastic job putting courses together,” he added. ” These are not the courses we will be racing on in 2018 but it was still great experience for us. … I am excited for the 2018 games. Everything there seems to be coming together well and it looks like they will put together an incredible event.
“These races were really a practice and tune up event for me and a chance to see the stadiums and the range for 2018,” Soule concluded.

On his home turf, South Korean skier Hyun Eui Sin placed third (43:24.7), with six misses (1+2+1+2).

With just one miss in his final round of shooting (0+0+0+1), Arendz broke the Russian regime, and took first place in the men’s 12.5 standing biathlon event in a time of 32:56.3.

“I just had to make it difficult on myself,” he said afterward.

“Skied a fantastic race to take the victory in PyeongChang despite missing a shot in the final bout of shooting,” he tweeted.

Two Russian skiers rounded out the podium with Kodlozerov in second (33:03.7) after shooting clean and Lekomtsev in third (33:30.4) after missing one shot in each round (1+1+1+1).

Choi was once again the lone competitor in the men’s 12.5 k visually impaired biathlon event, racing the course in time of 46:47.7 with six penalties (3+2+0+1).

The IPC nordic race schedule takes a two-and-a-half week break before commencing again on Feb. 21 in Finsterau, Germany.

Results:

Day 1: Women 1.1/1.4 k C Sprint | Men’s 1.1/1.4 k C Sprint

Day 2: Women 2.5/7.5 F Mid-Distance | Men 5/10 k F Mid-Distance

Day 3:Women 6 k Sprint | Men 7.5 k Sprint

Day 4: Women 10 k | Men 12.5 k

— Gabby Naranja 

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Masters Honored with Best of March Team USA Award

 

Oksana Masters competes in the 12-kilometer women's sit-ski race at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Final in Surnadal, Norway. Masters captured gold in the event, winning the first medal of the competition for the U.S. team. (Photo: John Farra/U.S. Paralympics)

Oksana Masters competes in the 12-kilometer women’s sit-ski race at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Final in Surnadal, Norway. Masters captured gold in the event, winning the first medal of the competition for the U.S. team. (Photo: John Farra/U.S. Paralympics)

(Press release)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 10, 2014) – Notable performances during the month of March earned Paralympic Nordic skier Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky), shooter Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) and the ice dancing pair of Madison Chock (Novi, Michigan) and Evan Bates (Ann Arbor, Michigan) Best of March honors for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, the United States Olympic Committee announced on Friday.

Masters claimed her final two gold medals of the 2014-15 season at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup final, held March 16-22 in Surnadal, Norway. She finished 52.8 seconds ahead of the field to win the 12-kilometer sitting cross-country race. Four days later, she clinched the overall women’s Nordic world cup title with a win in the middle distance event.

Read more on Masters’ World Cup win here.

Hancock made history by shooting a perfect world-record qualifying score of 125 to win the gold medal in men’s skeet at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup, held March 9 in Acapulco, Mexico. The reigning two-time Olympic gold medalists connected on all 157 targets, marking the first time a shooter has accomplished the feat since the new skeet rules were implemented after the London 2012 Olympic Games. The win marked the sixth world cup victory of his career.

Chock and Bates earned the ice dancing silver medal with a personal-best score of 181.34 at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, held March 23-29 in Shanghai. The second-place finish marked a career high and they were the only team to earn a level four – the highest awarded in figure skating – on each of their five elements in the short dance. The pair’s segment score of 74.47 was the highest of the event by 1.79 points.

Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male and one team per discipline. An internal nominating committee selects five nominees from both the male and female categories, and three from the team category to advance to the voting round. Votes received from NGB representatives account for 50 percent of the final tally, with the other half determined by online fan voting via TeamUSA.org.

In addition to Dow, the presenting sponsor, the Team USA Awards are supported by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Kellogg’s, Samsung and USG.

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Cnossen Captures Silver in World Cup Finals Pursuit; Arendz Repeats with Bronze

 

Lt. Dan Cnossen on his way to silver in the men's biathlon 12.5 k sitting pursuit on Friday at IPC World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/Lediard Foto)

Lt. Dan Cnossen on his way to silver in the men’s biathlon 12.5 k sitting pursuit on Friday at IPC World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/Lediard Foto)

(Combined IPC/CCC/U.S. Paralympics press releases)

U.S. Paralympian and Navy SEAL Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen cleaned three-straight stages then missed two shots to come away with silver on Day 3 of the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals on Friday in Surnadal, Norway.

Cnossen finished second in men’s biathlon 12.5-kilometer sitting pursuit to end up on the podium for the first time at World Cup Finals. The starting positions in biathlon pursuit are based on the participants’ finishes in the biathlon sprint, in which Cnossen finished sixth. He ended up 54.4 seconds behind Russia’s Alexey Bychenok, who won in 41:43.8.

“That was a really fun race,” Cnossen told U.S. Paralympics after the pursuit. “I was chasing people right out of the gate, and I came into the range with three people and every time that happened it helped me to keep my mind in the game. It was a great day!”

Also for the U.S., Andy Soule held onto his fourth-place position to finish 1:25.9 back from the winner with three penalties (2+0+1+0) and 23.5 seconds off the podium (after Dzmitry Loban of Belarus in third).  In the women’s biathlon 10 k sitting pursuit, Oksana Masters started and finished fifth, 4:48.9 behind German winner Anja Wicker (38:49.9).

One of two non-Russian winners on Friday, Wicker also won Wednesday’s sprint. She cleaned to stay ahead in the pursuit, 40.9 seconds ahead of runner-up Natalia Kocherova of Russia. Belarus’ Lidziya Hrafeyeva finished 3:04.2 back in third.

In the men’s 12.5 k standing, Canada’s Mark Arendz finished third for the second-straight race with three penalties (1+0+2+0). He ended up 1:12.1 behind Russia’s Vladislav Lekomtcev, who started first and won in 35:31.4 despite missing three shots. Ukraine’s Grygorii Vovchynskyi finished 26.8 seconds back in second with a single miss on the first stage.

“There was a lot of misses shooting today which highlighted the race,” Arendz said in a team press release. “It was a very tight race and many lead changes throughout the day. It was a great race for me, especially a strong finishing lap that moved me into podium position despite my difficulties shooting.”

In the women’s 10 k standing, Ukraine’s Liudmyla Liashenko upset teammate Oleksandra Kononova, who won all three biathlon titles at IPC World Championships earlier this year. Liashenko, 21, was the other non-Russian winner, tallying the victory in 30:40.1 with one penalty on the first shooting.

Kononova missed seven and finished second, 39.2 seconds back, and Japan’s Yurika Abe was 1:03.5 back in third.

With a win in the women’s 10 k visually impaired pursuit, Russia’s Iuliia Budaleeva, guided by Tatiana Maltseva, remains the lone athlete with an unbeaten streak at World Cup Finals.

Budaleeva topped the podium in 33:10.5, beating two Ukrainians, Olga Prylutska (guided by Borys Babar) and Oksana Shyshkova (guided by Lada Nesterenko) by 1 minute and 1:35, respectively.

The men’s 12.5 k visually impaired pursuit saw the same three podium finishers as Wednesday’s sprint, but with the first and third swapping places.

Russia’s Nikolay Polukhin and guide Andrey Tokarev took the win in 39:22.9, nearly 42 seconds ahead of Ukraine’s Anatolii Kovalevski and guide Oleksandr Mukshyn, who again finished second. Both athletes missed a single shot. Wednesday’s winners Stanislav Chokhlaev and guide Evgenii Fatkhullin ended up third, 1:06 back.

IPC World Cup Finals continue through Sunday.

Results: Men | Women

Complete schedule/results

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Arendz, Hudak Race to Bronze in Biathlon Sprints at IPC World Cup Finals

 

Mark Arendz (Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team) racing to bronze in the men's biathlon 7.5 k standing sprint on Wednesday at IPC World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway. (Photo: CCC/Facebook)

Mark Arendz (Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team) racing to bronze in the men’s biathlon 7.5 k standing sprint on Wednesday at IPC World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway. (Photo: Lediard Foto/CCC Facebook)

(Combined IPC/CCC press releases)

Canadian Mark Arendz fought his way into podium contention after a late penalty in the men’s 7.5-kilometer standing sprint on Wednesday, the first day of biathlon competition at IPC World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway.

The two-time Paralympian put down a fast last lap to finish 46 seconds behind defending world champion Vladislav Lekomtcev of Russia, who won in 17:20.1 with perfect shooting. Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset also shot clean to finish 44.9 seconds back in second.

“It was a great skiing race for me,” Arendz, 25, said in a Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team press release. “I was moving well throughout the race, but made a bit of work for myself with that miss on the range. I felt confident on the range, but a miss is costly. There was some really tight results in my field and I have to be pleased I skied somewhat back after that first miss is my second shooting.”

Russia’s Iuliia Budaleeva and Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova both continued their winning streaks during Wednesday’s biathlon races.

Brittany Hudak (Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team) racing to bronze in Wednesday's biathlon 6 k standing sprint at IPC World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway. (Photo: Lediard Foto/CCC Facebook)

Brittany Hudak (Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team) racing to bronze in Wednesday’s biathlon 6 k standing sprint at IPC World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway. (Photo: Lediard Foto/CCC Facebook)

Kononova, who won every race at IPC World Championships in January, once again topped the podium in the women’s 6 k standing sprint. Having missed one shot in the first shooting, Kononova put down the winning time of  16:15.3, just 3.4 seconds faster than fellow Ukrainian Liudmyla Liashenko, who cleaned for second. Canada’s Brittany Hudak shot clean and made up 13 seconds on her last lap for her second-straight podium in as many days, finishing 15.4 seconds behind Kononova in third.

After winning Tuesday’s cross-country, long-distance race, Budaleeva and her guide Tatiana Maltseva racked up a 6 k visually impaired biathlon victory with clean shooting in 17:22.2. Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova with guide Lada Nesterenko placed second (17:33.8) and Olga Prylutska and guide Borys Babar finished third (17:35.1).

Budaleeva’s Russian teammates added three more gold medals to their tally.

Having finished second in Tuesday’s visually impaired men’s race, Stanislav Chokhlaev and guide Evgenii Fatkhullin won the closest race of the day on Wednesday in 19:04.1, just 0.5 seconds ahead of Ukraine’s Anatolii Kovalevskyi with guide Oleksandr Mukshyn (19:04.6). While Kovalevskyi presented a clean sheet, Choklaev missed one shot and had to push hard to reach the top of the podium. Nikolay Polukhin and guide Andrey Tokarev (19:16.0) finished in third place.

Aleksandr Davidovich completed Russia’s collection of gold medals of the day, topping the podium in the men’s 7.5 k sitting without missing a single shot and a time of 21:11.8. Germany’s Martin Fleig finished in second (21:45.8), 2.2 seconds ahead of world champion Maksym Yarvoyi of Ukraine in third (21:48.0).

American Andy Soule placed fourth with one penalty in the first shooting, 13.7 seconds off the podium and 49.9 seconds after Davidovich. Soule’s teammate, Dan Cnossen was sixth, another 7.3 seconds back with a single miss as well (1+0).

Fleig’s teammate Anja Wicker won the women’s 6 k sitting race with perfect shooting in 20:18.1. Russia’s Natalia Kocherova finished second (21:04.6) and Belarus’ Lidziya Hrafeyeva took third (21:21.5). Oksana Masters of the U.S. was fifth, 1:18 behind Wicker with three penalties (1+2).

IPC World Cup Finals continue through Sunday with cross-country middle-distance classic as well as pursuit and long-distance biathlon races.

Results: Men | Women

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McKeever, Klebl Earn Double Gold for Canada at IPC World Cup Finals; Masters Tops 12 k for U.S.

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

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

(Combined IPC/CCC/U.S. Paralympics press releases)

The Canadian and Russian stole the spotlight on the first day of the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway, with each nation winning two cross-country, long-distance freestyle races apiece on Tuesday.

In the men’s 20-kilometer visually impaired race, Paralympic and world champions Brian McKeever and guide Erik Carleton topped the podium in 48:38.5, nearly five minutes ahead of of Russia’s Stanislav Chokhlaev and guide Evgenii Fatkhullin in second (+4:42.8). Third place went to Ukraine’s Anatolii Kovalevskyi, guided by Oleksandr Mukshyn (+6:22).

In every IPC event they’ve competed in so far this season, McKeever and Carleton have not lost a race, according to a team press release.

Chris Klebl, a 2014 Paralympic gold medalist in the 10 k sit ski, secured Canada’s second win in the men’s 15 k sitting, a race that proved to be the day’s closest contest. The 43-year-old Klebl finished in 40:24.0, edging out Russian world champion Aleksandr Davidovich by just 1.3 seconds.

“I am definitely a fan of spring racing with the longer, warmer days,” Klebl said in a press release. “The racing this week is during the time frame of the Paralympic Games so it is also good to see that our training plan has me skiing fast now. I have one race left to see how the overall standings for the year shake out and I’m looking forward to it.”

Another Russian, Alexey Bychenok finished 57.8 seconds after Klebl in third. Just 7 seconds off the podium, Dan Cnossen of the U.S. placed fourth and his teammate Andy Soule was seventh, 2:20.6 behind Klebl.

Oksana Masters competes in the 12-kilometer women's sit-ski race at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Final in Surnadal, Norway. Masters captured gold in the event, winning the first medal of the competition for the U.S. team. (Photo: John Farra/U.S. Paralympics)

Oksana Masters competes in the 12-kilometer women’s sitting race at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway. Masters captured gold in the event, winning the first medal of the competition for the U.S. team. (Photo: John Farra/U.S. Paralympics)

Leading the overall IPC World Cup standings in the women’s sit ski, American Oksana Masters maintained her recent run of good form in Tuesday’s 12 k sitting, winning in 36:44.90 over Norway’s home favourite Mariann Marthinsen, who was second (+52.8), and Russia’s Natalia Kocherova, who was 2:29.7 back in third.

“My goal in today’s race was to focus on my pacing and technique,” Masters said in a U.S. Paralympics press release. “This season, the 12-kilometer races have been a struggle with pacing and keeping technique once I get tired. Today was a team effort success. My skis were flying thanks to [ski technician] Dave [Mark] and my coaches were alongside the course reminding me about pacing and technique. It’s always a team effort and today was a great way to end the last long distance cross-country race of the season.”

Russia’s two wins on Tuesday came through world champions Iuliia Budaleeva and Rushan Minnegulov.

Budaleeva and guide Tatiana Maltseva were victorious in the women’s 15 k visually impaired race in 43:14.9 and shared the podium with Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova and guide Lada Nesterenko in second (43:57.1) and fellow Russians Elena Remizova and guide Maksim Pirogov in third (44:27.5).

Minnegulov won the men’s 20 k standing in 49:28.0, beating Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh in second (50.41.5) and Norway’s Hakon Olsrud, who was third (52:07.8).

The defending world champion in the women’s 15 k standing, Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova racked up another win at World Cup Finals in the event in 44:04.7. Canada’s Brittany Hudak took silver, 31.1 seconds back, and Kononova’s teammate Liudmyla Liashenko finished 45.1 seconds back in third.

“It is a mixture of shock and happiness today,” Hudak said in the release. “It was great to beat the Ukraine girl who was third for the first time so I was thrilled with that. I had been feeling tired heading into the race so I was focused on my technique and skiing as efficiently as possible. Once I started the race, it became clear that my skis were really fast so I pushed hard and enjoyed the experience.”

Competition continues through Sunday with the cross-country middle distance classic as well as the short, pursuit and long-distance biathlon races.

Results: Men | Women

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Masters Nominated for IPC Athlete of the Month

(Press release)

Six para-athletes have been shortlisted for the Allianz Athlete of the Month poll for February 2015 and the public are now invited to vote for their winner via www.paralympic.org

The nominations for February 2015 are:

Chris Vos, the Netherlands, Snowboard

The 17-year-old did not just celebrate his birthday at the World Championships in La Molina, Spain, he also won two world titles.  He topped the podium in the SB-LL1 class in the snowboard cross head-to-head and banked slalom.

Aled Davies, Great Britain, Athletics

At the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai, UAE, Davies set two new world records in 24 hours.  He first broke his own discus F42 record by 17cm with a throw of 48.87m. In the shot put F42 he threw 15.92m to beat his previous record by 1.21m.

Alexey Bugaev, Russia, Alpine skiing

The 17-year-old heads into March’s World Championships in the form of his life.  In February, he won both slalom races at the World Cup Finals in St. Moritz to maintain his 100 per cent World Cup record in the discipline.  He followed it up with wins in downhill and super combined at the NorAm Cup in Canada.

Gustavo Fernandez, Argentina, Wheelchair tennis

The World No.4 completed a memorable first visit to Rotterdam, Netherlands, when he beat world No. 5 Joachim Gerard 6-0 3-6 6-1 to win the first ITF 1 Series singles title of 2015 at the ABN AMRO World Wheelchair Tennis Tournament, part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour.

Oksana Masters, USA, Nordic Skiing

In just her second season in winter sports, sit-skier Masters won four out of five races at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in Asahikawa, Japan, to lead the World Cup rankings.

Perle Bouge, France, Rowing

At the French Indoor Rowing Championships, Bouge posted a new world record of 3:47.5 over the 1,000m distance in the women’s TA event to take 4.7 seconds off her previous best set in 2013.

The public has until 12:00 (CEST) on Monday 9 March to vote for the athlete they want to be the Allianz Athlete of the Month for February 2015 via the www.paralympic.org homepage.

The nominations are compiled from submissions by National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) and International Federations (IFs).

The 2015 winners so far are:

January – Andrew Soule, USA, Nordic Skiing

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Cnossen, Masters Claim Gold on Final Day in Asahikawa; Hudak 2nd in Skate Race

(IPC press release)

The IPC Nordic Skiing cross-country World Cup concluded on Thursday with a double win for the USA and Russia in middle-distance freestyle races in Asahikawa, Japan.

After missing out on a medal at the 2015 World Championships just weeks ago, U.S. sit-skier Dan Cnossen was triumphant after chasing the top spot on the podium all week behind teammate Andy Soule.

Cnossen (30:17.8) put in a strong performance to lead Canadian Chris Klebl (30:31.2) in second and Russia’s Alexey Bychenok (30:38.7) in third.

In the women’s event the USA’s Oksana Masters (16:36.4) once again made good on her aspirations to improve in her second competitive season, winning ahead of Norway’s Mariann Marthinsen (16:51.9).

Russian Natalia Kocherova (17:37.6) was third, as the podium trio head into the World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway, as the overall top three.

Rushan Minnegulov (24:08.2) topped the men’s standing race for Russia, climbing from an early third.

France’s Benjamin Daviet (24:44.1) was once again in the mix in second, standing between Minnegulov and teammate Vladislav Lekomtcev (24:53.8) in third.

The second win for Russia came courtesy of Ekaterina Rumyantseva (14:41.8) in the women’s standing who, heading into the World Cup Finals, is just two points clear of second-place Canadian Brittany Hudak (14:55.5). Japan’s Yurika Abe (15:15.4) used her latest podium to claw her way into the World Cup top five with third place.

Winning Frenchman Anthony Chalencon (26:06.8), guided by Lucas Dupperex, pulled himself closer to Norway’s current men’s visually impaired World Cup leader and second place finisher Eirik Bye (26:37.3) and guide KM Hellerud.

Japan’s Kazuto Takamura (32:27.2) enjoyed his first podium at home alongside guide Toru Hara in third.

The IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals begin on 16-22 March and will feature biathlon and cross-country.

Complete results | IPC World Cup rankings

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Soule Racks Up Fourth-Straight Gold in Asahikawa; Masters Tallies Third Win

Oksana Masters (U.S. Paralympics Nordic) racing to silver in the women's 12 k sitting on Feb. 17 in Asahikawa, Japan. (Photo: Eileen Carey/U.S. Paralympics Nordic)

Oksana Masters (U.S. Paralympics Nordic) racing to silver in the women’s 12 k sitting on Feb. 17 in Asahikawa, Japan. (Photo: Eileen Carey/U.S. Paralympics Nordic)

(IPC press release)

Russian skiers sealed a double win at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in Asahikawa, Japan, on Wednesday, bringing their day’s podium total to five in the 1-kilometer cross-country sprints.

Vladislav Lekomtcev headed the field in the men’s freestyle standing sprint, securing his third win of the competition and pushing himself further out of reach in the overall World Cup rankings.

France’s Benjamin Daviet was second, splitting Lekomtcev and his teammate Ivan Kodlozerov in third. Canadian Mark Arendz placed fourth.

The second win for Russia came in the women’s equivalent, the women’s freestyle standing sprint, courtesy of Ekaterina Rumyantseva who once again led Japan’s Yurika Abe and Canadian Brittany Hudak, respectively.

There was also double joy for the USA, as Oksana Masters took her third win and Andy Soule his fourth in the women’s and men’s sitting sprints, respectively. The win continues Soule’s unbeaten record for the competition.

“I am finally feeling like I am able to give it my 100% in the training leading up to Japan along with in the actual races themselves,” Masters wrote in an email to FasterSkier earlier this week. “I am feeling like anything was possible. Although this World Cup is smaller in size, there are really great athletes here and I always like to approach each race as right now focusing in the moment.”

Masters finished in front of Norwegian sprint Paralympic champion Mariann Marthinsen, whilst Akzhana Abdikarimova collected another podium for Russia in third.

Soule meanwhile continued his tussle with Alexey Bychenok over 1 k, edging the Russian out to take victory. Norwegian Steinar Trygve Larsen completed the top three. Also for the U.S., Dan Cnossen placed fourth and Canada’s Chris Klebl was fifth.

There was a continuation of a strong French showing at the World Cup level following the team’s convincing World Championships performance, as Anthony Challencon and guide Lucas Dupperex were victorious in the men’s visually impaired.

Norwegian Eirik Bye, guided by KM Hellrud, retained their form with a second place finish.

South Korea’s Bogue Choi and guide Jeongryun Seo collected third, emerging just in time for the beginning of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games cycle.

Races conclude in Asahikawa on Thursday with middle-distance freestyle, before the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals take place in Surnadal, Norway, from 16-22 March.

Results: Women | Men | Complete results

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Soule Makes It 3-for-3; Hudak and McKeever Golden Again in Asahikawa

Andy Soule racing to silver on Saturday in his first biathlon competition of the 2015 IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics)

Andy Soule (US Paralympics Nordic) racing to silver in his first biathlon competition of the 2015 IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis. He went on to earn five medals at the championships late last month. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics)

(IPC press release)

The USA’s Andy Soule continued his fantastic run of form at the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup on Tuesday, with his third win in as many races in Asahikawa, Japan, in the cross-country 15-kilometer classic sitting.

US Army veteran and recent World Championships bronze medallist Soule headed a strong field of finishers, winning in 45:10.2, 6.1 seconds ahead of Canada’s Chris Klebl in second and his teammate Dan Cnossen was 30.6 seconds back in third.

In sunny conditions just above freezing, Norway’s Mariann Marthinsen reclaimed the top of the podium, collecting her first win of the competition in the women’s 12 k sitting in 40:39.2.

Marthinsen beat Soule’s compatriot Oksana Masters by 14.3 seconds, who has so far had the winning edge in Asahikawa and ended up second on Tuesday. Russian Natalia Kocherova rounded out the top three, 2:10.6 back.

Russian Vladislav Lekomtcev picked up his second win in the men’s 20 k standing in 59:31.2, leading world champion teammate Rushan Minnegulov by 52.3 seconds and Japan’s Yoshishiro Nitta by 56.1 seconds onto the podium. Canada’s Mark Arendz finished off the podium in fourth, 2:33.7 behind the winner.

Meanwhile, Canadian development-team rookie Brittany Hudak collected her second win of the Asahikawa World Cup in the women’s 15 k classic standing in 57:04.2. Runner-up Yurika Abe provided more delight for the home crowds with her latest podium, 4:16.2 behind. World Championships bronze medallist Russian Ekaterina Rumyantseva 5:22.8 back in third.

Hudak’s reigning world and Paralympic champion compatriot Brian McKeever demonstrated his long-distance prowess once again with guide Graham Nishikawa, winning the men’s 20 k visually impaired in 1:00:15.5.

“The course and ski conditions were very tough today,” McKeever said in a team press release. “Changing track conditions and a very long, steep hill could have been a rough mix, but the servicemen gave us perfect skis. Graham was awesome today. He was so strong on the climbs, and his work really laid the foundation for a good result today.”

Norwegian Eirik Bye, guided by KM Hellerud, sealed valuable World Cup points in second, 5:17.5 seconds back, while Japan’s Hiroshi Kato and guide Y Katsutoshi placed third of three finishers, 25:15.5 after McKeever.

Races continue on Wednesday with the freestyle sprint.

The 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup calendar concludes with biathlon and cross-country finals in Surnadal, Norway, from 16-22 March.

Results: Women | MenComplete results

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Masters, Soule Roll to Second-Straight Wins; Hudak Victorious in Asahikawa World Cup

Oksana Masters winning the cross-country skiing sprint earlier this season in Vuokatti, Finland. (Photo: IPC/Arja Korhonen)

Oksana Masters winning the cross-country skiing sprint earlier this season in Vuokatti, Finland. (Photo: IPC/Arja Korhonen)

(IPC press release)

US Nordic skiers had the better of the second day of the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in Asahikawa, Japan, with Oksana Masters and Andrew Soule both securing their second successive wins in Sunday’s cross-country sprint races.

Following her win in Saturday’s short event, Masters (3:12.60) again topped the podium in the women’s sitting sprint, an event she won bronze in at January’s World Championships in Cable, Wis. The 25-year-old finished ahead of Marjann Marthinsen (3:20.10), Norway’s Paralympic champion in this event, and Russia’s Natalia Kocherova (3:27.70).

“What an amazing day for @USParaNordic, 2 golds and a silver at @IPCNordic #asahikawa2015 World Cup,” Masters tweeted soon after the race.

In the men’s equivalent it was a US one two with Soule (2:49.00) edging out teammate Daniel Cnossen (2:52.80). Canada’s Chris Klebl (2:53.71) was third.

Russia’s Vladislav Lekomtcev (2:46.05) showed exactly why he is the sprint world champion, leading home the men’s standing field. Japan’s Yoshihiro Nitta (2:48.71) was second whilst Canada’s Mark Arendz (2:49.65) was third for the second day in a row.

“The snow conditions were changing throughout the day, but the staff gave me great boards and I finished a close third,” Arendz, 24, said in a team press release.

The men’s visually impaired race was won by Norway’s Eirik Bye and guide KM Hellerud (3:02.80) to make it two wins from two for them in Asahikawa. France’s Anthony Chalencon guided by Luas Duperrex (3:13.78) was second and Korea’s Bogue Choi and guide Jeongryun Seo (3:50.00) third.

The women’s standing race saw all three of Saturday’s podium finishers once again take the top three positions. Canada’s Brittany Hudak (3:32.21) this time claimed the win, finishing ahead of Japan’s Yurika Abe (3:44.91), Russia’s Ekaterina Rumyantseva (3:38.48) who had took the win on Saturday was third.

“The learning curve has been so huge for me,” the 21-year-old Hudak said before the race. “Now having the opportunity to attend national training camps, particularly the New Zealand camp this summer, I have noticed a huge improvement in my technique. It has been such an advantage for me to be in the same environment with the high-performance athletes, seeing how the train and learning from them.”

Competition continues in Asahikawa on Tuesday (17 February) with cross-country long races.

The 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals take place in Surnadal, Norway, from 16-22 March.

Results: Women’s 1 k sprint | Men’s 1 k sprintComplete results

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Soule Wins First World Cup in Two Years; Masters, McKeever Also Victorious in Asahikawa

France's Benjamin Daviet was part of the winning cross-country open relay team that beat champions Russia earlier this month at the 2015 IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis. (Photo: IPC/James Netz Photography)

France’s Benjamin Daviet was part of the winning cross-country open relay team that beat champions Russia earlier this month at the 2015 IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis. (Photo: IPC/James Netz Photography)

(IPC press release)

A series of medallists from the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships continued their cross-country form in Asahikawa, Japan, on Saturday (14 February), at the penultimate World Cup of the 2014-15 season.

In the men’s 10-kilometer classic middle distance standing, France’s Benjamin Daviet (27:59.0) beat Russian world champion Vladislav Lekomtcev (28:11.0) with a solid performance that followed on from his sprint and long distance silvers from the Worlds in Cable, Wis. Canada’s Mark Arendz (28:47.5) was third.

Russia’s Ekaterina Rumyantseva (16:28.9) took the win in the women’s 5 k classic middle distance standing under partly cloudy skies. Canada’s Brittany Hudak (16:53.6), having just missed out on a podium at the World Championships, was second with Yurika Abe (18:24.0) taking the last podium place for the hosts.

Andy Soule competing at 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/James Netz)

Andy Soule competing at 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/James Netz)

The USA’s Andrew Soule, fresh from his historic haul of five medals from his home World Championships, was victorious in the men’s 5 k short distance sitting.

Soule (15:33.2) led Russian Alexey Bychenok in second (15:34.9) and teammate Dan Cnossen in third (15:35.2) to take his first World Cup win in two years.

“It is a great way to start this week,” Soule said in a U.S. Paralympics press release. “Our plan was to come here well prepared, race well, recover well and have five good opportunities to ski fast. This has been a great event and organizers have done a fantastic job. I am looking forward to the rest of the week.”

The women’s equivalent, the 2.5 k sitting, featured another convincing US win, this time for Oksana Masters (8:30.4). Norway’s sprint Paralympic champion Mariann Marthinsen (8:42.0) was second over one lap whilst Russian Natalia Kocherova (8:59.8) completed the podium.

“I really like this short distance and hope we get to ski it more often,” Masters told U.S. Paralympics. “It is such a short race, and there is no room for mistakes. I just had to ski fast.”

Canada’s Brian McKeever (28:13.9) was once again in astonishing form in the men’s 10 k classic middle distance visually impaired, dominating with guide Graham Nishikawa.

“We have only been here two days and are all quite sleepy with jet lag, but we are pretty happy with the results all-around today,” Canadian Para-Nordic Head Coach Robin McKeever said in a team press release. “The skis were really good, and I am happy with how everyone skied. They were all solid from start-to-finish.”

Norway’s Eirik Bye (31:35.2), guided by Kristian Myhre Hellerud, sealed his first career World podium in second as France’s Anthony Chalencon (32:25.2) with guide Lucas Dupperex was third.

Competition continues in Asahikawa on Sunday (15 February) with sprint races. The 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals take place in Surnadal, Norway, from 16-22 March.

Results: Men’s short | Women’s short | Men’s middle | Women’s middle | Complete results

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Andy Soule Named IPC Athlete of the Month

American Andy Soule skied his way onto the men's cross-country and biathlon sitting podium five times at the 2015 IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis., racking up his fifth medal of the week on Saturday. (Photo: IPC/James Netz)

American Andy Soule skied his way onto the men’s cross-country and biathlon sitting podium five times at the 2015 IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis. (Photo: IPC/James Netz)

(IPC press release)

The USA’s Andrew Soule has been voted the Allianz Athlete of the Month for January 2015 after a record breaking performance at the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships.

On home snow in Cable, USA, Soule made history by winning the most ever medals by a US athlete at a Nordic Skiing World Championships, claiming three silver and two bronze medals.

The 34-year-old sit skier won silver in the 7.5km and 12.5km biathlon races as well as the 10km cross-country.  In cross-country he also picked up bronze in the 1km sprint and the 15km races.

To win the poll, Soule claimed 37 percent of the public vote to just edge out British snowboarder Ben Moore with 34 percent.  Moore has been in top form this year and won  the first ever snowboard-cross head-to-head race in Aspen, USA. He secured his second World Cup win in the discipline in the upper-limb impairment class days later in Big White, Canada.

Also nominated in January’s poll were Dutch wheelchair tennis player Jiske Griffioen, Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova who won six world titles at Cable 2015, Norwegian sailor Bjornar Erikstad and the French Nordic skiing relay team.

The previous winners from 2014 were:

January – Markus Salcher, Austria, alpine skiing

February – Matti Suur-Hamari, Finland, para-snowboard

March best male – Declan Farmer, USA, ice sledge hockey

March best female – Marie Bochet, France, alpine skiing

March best team – Russia, ice sledge hockey

April – Ali Jawad, Great Britain, powerlifting

May – Aled Davies, Great Britain, athletics

June – Safet Alibasic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, sitting volleyball

July – Markus Rehm, Germany, athletics

August best youngster – Maria Lyle, Great Britain, athletics

August best male – Yevheniy Bohodayko, Ukraine, swimming

August best female – Sarah Morganti, Italy, equestrian

September – Eduardo Avila Sanchez, Mexico, judo

October – Siamand Rahman, Iran, powerlifting

November – Kelsey Diclaudio, USA, ice sledge hockey

December – Daniel Dias, Brazil, swimming

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Soule Nominated; Less then 24 Hours Left to Vote for IPC Athlete of the Month

(International Paralympic Committee press release)

Five para-athletes and a team have been shortlisted for the Allianz Athlete of the Month poll for January 2015 and the public are now invited to vote for their winner via www.paralympic.org

The nominations for January 2015 are:

Jiske Griffioen, the Netherlands, wheelchair tennis

After almost 14 years on the circuit, 29-year-old Griffioen finally won her first Grand Slam singles title with victory at the Australian Open.  She beat Japan’s world No.1 Yui Kamiji in the final 6-3 7-5.

Oleksandra Kononova, Ukraine, Nordic skiing

The 23-year-old was the star of the show at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships in Cable, USA, winning gold in all six individual events she took part in.  She also was part of the Ukraine mixed relay team that won silver.

Bjornar Erikstad, Norway, sailing

The 33-year-old claimed only his second ever World Cup win with victory in the 2.4mR in Miami, USA.

Although he did not win any of the races, he consistently finished each race in the top three to top the podium.

Andrew Soule, USA, Nordic skiing

On home snow in Cable, USA, Soule made history by winning the most ever medals by a US athlete at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships winning three silver and two bronze medals.

Ben Moore, Great Britain, para-snowboard

Has hit top form during this season and made history in Aspen, USA, by winning the first ever snowboard- cross head-to-head.  He secured his second World Cup win in the discipline in the upper-limb impairment class days later in Big White, Canada.

France relay team, Nordic skiing

The French cross-country open relay team upset all the odds on the last day of the IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships by defeating Paralympic champions Russia to win gold in the 4×2.5km relay.

The public has until 12:00 (CEST) on Monday 9 February to vote for the athlete they want to be the Allianz Athlete of the Month for January 2015 via the www.paralympic.org homepage.

The nominations are compiled from submissions by National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) and International Federations (IFs).

The 2014 winners were:

January – Markus Salcher, Austria, alpine skiing

February – Matti Suur-Hamari, Finland, para-snowboard

March best male – Declan Farmer, USA, ice sledge hockey

March best female – Marie Bochet, France, alpine skiing

March best team – Russia, ice sledge hockey

April – Ali Jawad, Great Britain, powerlifting

May – Aled Davies, Great Britain, athletics

June – Safet Alibasic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, sitting volleyball

July – Markus Rehm, Germany, athletics

August best youngster – Maria Lyle, Great Britain, athletics

August best male – Yevheniy Bohodayko, Ukraine, swimming

August best female – Sarah Morganti, Italy, equestrian

September – Eduardo Avila Sanchez, Mexico, judo

October – Siamand Rahman, Iran, powerlifting

November – Kelsey Diclaudio, USA, ice sledge hockey

December – Daniel Dias, Brazil, swimming

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Canadians Fourth, U.S. Seventh in Mixed Relay on Last Day of World Champs

(CCC press release)

Canada fielded a team of two veterans and two rookies loaded with potential, who joined forces for an impressive fourth-place finish in the mixed relay on Sunday, the final day of competition at the 2015 IPC Nordic World Skiing Championships in Cable, Wis.

Led by Paralympic champion, Chris Klebl (Canmore, Alta.), the Canucks were in the medal mix for the opening 2.5-kilometre leg. Klebl handed off to two-time Paralympic medallist in biathlon, Mark Arendz (Hartsville, P.E.I.) who set the stage for the Canadian rookies in the final two laps. At just 21 years of age, Brittany Hudak of Prince Albert, Sask., continued to demonstrate her potential while holding court with many of the world’s best before handing off to rookie, Emily Weekes. Competing in her first major international event, Weekes of North Vancouver, brought the Canadians home – just 16.3 seconds short of the podium in fourth in 31:55.2.

“All things considered, it was an amazing day for us. We skied 3.5 out of the 4 legs to near perfection,” said Robin McKeever, coach, Canadian Para-Nordic Team. “While we didn’t get on the podium, this was a big day for our team that provided additional experience and learning on what is required to compete at this level.”

Russia won the mixed relay with a time of 29:47.5. Ukraine placed second (+39.3), while Norway took bronze (+51.4). The U.S. finished seventh behind Germany in fifth and Finland in sixth, with Oksana Masters, Andy Soule, Tatyana McFadden, and Omar Bermejo.

While Canada’s lone medal at the 2015 World Championships came from Brian McKeever and Erik Carleton winning gold in the men’s distance cross-country ski race – the only event the legendary Paralympian McKeever suited up for this year, it was a successful benchmark on the road to Pyeongchang 2018 for Canada’s young team who leave with a handful of fourth and fifth-place results.

“I am really impressed overall with the performance of our two girls (Brittany Hudak and Emily Weekes),” added McKeever. “They both had career best performances throughout the week. We would have liked a little more out of our World Cup guys, but there were a lot of learnings and we will build from this.”

Sunday’s results: 4 x 2.5 k mixed relay | 4 x 2.5 k open relay

Complete results

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Soule Nets Historic Fifth IPC World Champs Medal, Masters Also 2nd for U.S.

American Andy Soule skied his way onto the men's cross-country and biathlon sitting podium five times at the 2015 IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis., racking up his fifth medal of the week on Saturday. (Photo: IPC/James Netz)

American Andy Soule skied his way onto the men’s cross-country and biathlon sitting podium five times at the 2015 IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis., racking up his fifth medal of the week on Saturday. (Photo: IPC/James Netz)

(IPC press release)

The USA’s Andy Soule continued his race into the record books at the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships in Cable, Wis., on Saturday, winning silver in the men’s middle distance cross-country sitting.

The medal was Soule’s second silver and fifth medal overall of the competition, a new record for a US skier at an IPC Nordic Skiing Worlds.

Soule was understandably happy with the performance, crediting the past year of training to achieving his results on home soil.

“Everything has come together with all of our plans,” Soule said.

Russia’s Aleksandr Davidovich (27:45.3) finished ahead of Soule, whilst his compatriot Alexey Bychenok (28:18.9) took bronze to increase his medal haul to five at the end of the individual events.

Germany’s Andrea Eskau (16:02.3) raced to some history of her own in the women’s sitting, taking gold to sweep the three cross country races, though she credited her competitors for pushing her.

“It was close, all races, but in the end I have the luck to win,” Eskau said.

Oksana Masters (16:07.5) claimed silver as her second medal of the week and Norwegian Mariann Marthinsen (16:12.3) took bronze.

Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova (15:53.0) continued her run of excellent form to win all six women’s standing events across biathlon and cross-country. Fellow countrywoman Liudmyla Liashenko (16:29.9) took silver.

Swedish skier Helene Ripa (17:02.8) took bronze to round out her individual competition with two medals.

“This race was much more tougher for me,” Ripa said. “I had in my mind [Kononova] could be tired after all those races, but I still know that she’s very hard to beat.

Russian Vladislav Lekomtcev (25:41.4) reclaimed the top spot on the podium in the men’s standing.

Teammate Ruslan Minnegulov (25:56.2) won silver. Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh (26:13.2) claimed bronze to round out the podium.

Stanislav Chokhlaev (26:15.2), guided by Evgenii Fatkhullin, led the third straight sweep Russian of the men’s visually impaired podium.

Nikolay Polukhin (26:47.4) and guide Andrey Tokarev took silver while the team of Vladimir Udaltcov (27:23.4), guided by Ruslan Bogachev, won bronze.

Speaking through a translator, Polukhin said he was happy for Chokhlaev, adding he felt that he “overachieved” in the individual races.

“I was planning to compete in biathlon events this week and was planning to do well in the middle distance,” Polukhin continued.

Russia retained the top spot in the women’s visually impaired as Elena Remizova (16:00.4), guided by Maksim Priogov, took gold ahead of compatriot Iuliia Budaleeva (16:25.3) and guide Tatiana Maltseva.

Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova (17:40.3) and guide Lada Nesterenko held on for the bronze medal.

Hudak, Arendz Notch Career Bests in Fourth; Klebl Fifth

(CCC press release)

Canada’s Para-Nordic squad enjoyed their best day without a medal, chalking up two fourths and a fifth-place finish.

Brittany Hudak, of Prince Albert, Sask., and Mark Arendz, of Hartsville, P.E.I., both had career-best cross-country ski classic races, finishing fourth in the women’s and men’s standing divisions respectively. Paralympic champion, Chris Klebl of Canmore, Alta., scrapped his way into fifth spot in the men’s sit-ski race.

The 21-year-old Hudak had the cross-country ski race of her life in the women’s 5 k standing division. The rising young star, who represented Canada at the Sochi Games, finished just one second off the podium behind the 2014 Paralympic champion with a time of 17 minutes, 3.8 seconds.

“I go into these races not expecting anything but with an open mind, but getting the splits from the coaches along the way motivated me to push harder,” said Hudak. “The skis were great today, the technique felt so good too so I am really happy. It was such a close race.”

Canada’s Para-Nordic rookie, Emily Weekes of North Vancouver, skied to 10th spot at 19:12.4.

Hudak has discovered a whole new world since being asked to try out the sport by legendary Para-Nordic athlete, Colette Bourgonje, while working at Canadian Tire in her hometown. Green to competing on snow at an elite level, Hudak joined the Canucks in Sochi. Building on that experience she made the National Development Team this year.

“The learning curve has been so huge for me,” said Hudak. “Now having the opportunity to attend national training camps, particularly the New Zealand camp this summer, I have noticed a huge improvement in my technique. It has been such an advantage for me to be in the same environment with the high-performance athletes, seeing how the train and learning from them.”

One of those athletes is Arendz.

Clawing his way back into the medal mix after a difficult week in his specialized biathlon events, Arendz saved his best for last, finishing just 10 seconds off the podium pace in fourth with a time of 26:23.5 in the men’s standing 10 k classic.

“Today was a fantastic day. Over the past few years the coaches and I have put in a lot of time working on my classic so I was curious to see how I’d finish,” said Arendz. “I learned from what went wrong earlier in the week. The staff gave me an amazing pair of skis and I was able to climb everything. It feels incredible to have this race today after struggling a bit through the earlier parts of the week.”

The strong day for the Canucks continued into the men’s sit-ski race. Klebl hammered the pace to finish with a solid fifth-place finish at 29:10.3 for his best race of this year’s premiere international Para-Nordic dance.

Yves Bourque, of Becancour, Que., placed 16th in the men’s sit-ski division with a time of 36:19.2.

The IPC World Championships conclude on Sunday with the cross-country relays, which start at 10 a.m. Central time. 

Saturday’s results: Men | Women

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Soule Makes It Four at IPC World Championships with 15 k Biathlon Silver

Andy Soule competing at 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/James Netz)

Andy Soule (U.S. Paralympics Nordic Program) competing at the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/James Netz)

Andy Soule kept the train going on Friday, winning his fourth medal in five races at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships in Cable, Wis. The U.S. Army veteran took silver in the men’s 15-kilometer sitting biathlon, 25.7 seconds behind Russia’s Alexey Bychenok, who won it in 46:31.2.

Both Bychenok and Soule cleaned en route to their podium performances, and Russia’s Grigory Murygin missed a single shot on his third stage to place third, 44.2 seconds back.

“I just took it one step at a time, one shot at a time, one quarter at a time and one hill at a time,” Soule, 35, said in a U.S. Paralympics press release. “I’m so proud of our how our entire team has done here.”

The U.S. men’s sit skiers missed just four out of 60 shots on Friday, with Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen placing fifth with two penalties (0+1+0+1) for his best biathlon result of the week and Bryan Price finishing 12th with two misses (1+0+1+0) as well.

Ihor Reptyukh was part of a Ukrainian double-act at Cable 2015, with him and Oleksandra Kononova winning the men's and women's long distance biathlon standing. (Photo: IPC/James Netz Photography)

Ihor Reptyukh was part of a Ukrainian double-act at 2015 IPC World Championships, as he and Oleksandra Kononova won the men’s and women’s long-distance standing biathlon events on Friday in Cable, Wis. (Photo: IPC/James Netz Photography)

Omar Bermejo took 14th in the men’s standing race with five penalties (3+1+1+0), about 12 minutes behind Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh, who cleaned to win in 39:23.9 and upset Russia’s Vladislav Lekomtcev by 4.8 seconds. Lekomtcev, who also hit all of his targets, had been aiming for his third biathlon gold of the week. France’s Benjamin Daviet cleaned for bronze (+18.1). Canada’s Mark Arendz finished 11th (+4:55) with three penalties (0+1+1+1).

Through five days of competition, the U.S. has collected five medals with two silver (both from Soule in the biathlon sprint and long-distance races) and three bronze (from Soule and Oksana Masters in the cross-country sprint). No U.S. women competed on Friday. Canada earned gold with Brian McKeever in the men’s 20 k visually impaired cross-country.

“From a team perspective, we are all gaining energy and excitement from not only Andy’s medals, but from the great results all around,” U.S. Paralympics Nordic High-Performance Director John Farra said in the release. “We’ve enjoyed competing here at home, and today’s performances set us up really nicely for tomorrow’s final individual cross-country races.”

The IPC World Championships wrap up with the last individual event on Saturday, the middle-distance cross-country, and the team relay on Sunday.

In the women’s 12.5 k sitting biathlon, Russia swept the podium with Marta Zaynullina winning her first gold over Paralympic-champion teammate Svetlana Konovalova by 20.4 seconds in 45:31.4. Russia’s Natalia Kocherova finished another 21.6 seconds back in third for her first medal of the 2015 championships.

Canada’s Emily Weekes placed 10th in the women’s 12.5 k standing with eight misses (1+3+2+2), 15:25.1 behind Ukrainian winner Oleksandra Kononova, who notched her fifth-straight gold of the championships in 36:21.4. While Kononova missed two on the second stage, her teammate Liudmyla Liashenko shot clean for silver (+48.9), and Finland’s Maija Jarvela missed a single target for bronze (+2:13.2).

“Before this biathlon [race] I was trying to calm down, to get the thoughts in order and prepare mentally for this race,” Kononova told the IPC.

In the women’s 12.5 k visually impaired, Russia’s Iuliia Budaleeva and guide Tatiana Maltseva claimed their third gold in three biathlon races in 40:29.0 with clean shooting. Russia’s Elena Remizova and guide Maksim Pirogov missed one on the last stage to take silver (+1:57.9), Ukraine’s Olga Prylutska and guide Borys Babar cleaned to finish another 4.2 seconds back in third.

In the men’s 15 k visually impaired, Russia’s Nikolay Polukhin and guide Andrey Tokarev took gold in 41:17.8 with perfect shooting, 17.5 seconds ahead of countrymen Stanislav Chokhlaev and guide Evgenii Fatkhullin, who missed one on the first stage. Ukraine’s Iurii Utkin and guide Vitalii Kazakov rounded out the podium in third (+2:42.9) with a single penalty on the final stage.

Results: Men | Women

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Soule Rolls to Another Bronze; Masters Takes First World Champs Medal in Sprint

Oksana Masters, pictured at the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships, won the first world championships medal of her career in the women's sitting cross-country sprint (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/James Netz)

Oksana Masters, pictured at the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships, won the first world championships medal of her career in the women’s sitting cross-country sprint (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/James Netz)

Andy Soule racked up his third medal of the 2015 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships on Wednesday, placing third in the 1-kilometer sitting sprint on the fourth day of competition.

A U.S. Army veteran and 2010 Paralympic bronze medalist in biathlon, Soule tallied his second bronze of the championships to take home along with his silver medal in the biathlon sprint.

Another U.S. Paralympic Nordic team sit-skier, Oksana Masters earned bronze in the women’s 1 k sprint on Wednesday. Soule led three American men in the top six, with Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen in fifth and Aaron Pike in sixth. All three men made the sprint final. Tatyana McFadden also made the women’s final for the U.S., where she placed sixth.

“It was a great day for me and for Team USA,” Soule said in a U.S. Paralympics press release. “I’m so proud to be part of this team. It was a very interesting race with traffic the whole time. I was in the race the whole way, and I was able to find that last bit of speed when I needed it at the end.”

He placed third behind winner Maksym Yarovyi of Ukraine and Russian silver medalist Alexey Bychenok.

For Masters, a two-time Paralympic medalist who finished third to German winner Andrea Eskau and Norwegian runner-up Mariann Marthinsen, it was her first World Championships medal.

“This was a really tough competition,” Masters said in the press release. “The tracks were really tight, and I’ve never spent so much time skiing in such a close pack. I’m thrilled with my result today, especially on such a tough course.”

For Eskau, the gold was her second of the 2015 championships.

“We’re so proud of our team’s performance today,” U.S. Paralympics Nordic High-Performance Coach Eileen Carey said. “So much of our focus this year has been on improving tactics and maneuvering, and those where huge components to our success in getting five athletes to the finals and two athletes on the podium today.”

The U.S. is now up to four medals in four days of competition — with one silver and three bronze. Three more days of races remain after a break on Thursday.

Canada’s Brittany Hudak placed seventh in the women’s 1 k standing sprint after making it to the semifinals, where she received a written warning for violating classic-technique rules. Her teammate Emily Weeks ended up 10th.

Ukrainian winner Oleksandra Kononova notched her fourth gold medal in four races, besting Swedish Paralympic champion Helene Ripa, who placed second, and Ukrainian teammate Liudmyla Liashenko, who took third.

“It is a fight but in a good way,” Ripa told the IPC. “I think she [Kononova] is very happy today that she beat me and I think she had a very good race today and I am very happy to be second.”

Also for Canada, Chris Klebl placed 13th in the men’s sitting sprint, Derek Zaplotinsky was 18th and Yves Bourque was 20th. Also in that race, Americans Bryan Price finished 17th and Augusto Perez was 19th.

Their teammate Omar Bermejo placed 24th in the men’s 1 k standing sprint, which Vladislav Lekomtcev won. France’s Benjamin Daviet notched his third podium with silver, and Russia’s Rushan Minnegulov took bronze.

“It was a hard race,” Daviet told the IPC through a translator. “Third medal in three days. It is very good.”

Vladimir Udaltcov and guide Ruslan Bogachev were part of a trio of Russian skiers who took gold in the cross-country sprints on Wednesday at the 2015 IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis. (Photo: IPC)

Vladimir Udaltcov and guide Ruslan Bogachev were part of a trio of Russian skiers who took gold in the cross-country sprints on Wednesday at the 2015 IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis. (Photo: IPC)

Russia won both the women’s and men’s visually impaired races to contribute to their nation’s total of three golds on Wednesday. Vladimir Udaltcov and guide Ruslan Bogachev led a Russian sweep of the men’s visually impaired sprint, with Oleg Ponomarev and guide Andrei Romanov placing second, and Stanislav Chokhlaev and guide Evgenii Fatkhullin finishing third.

Elena Remizova and guide Maksim Pirogov won gold for their third medal of the championships, ahead of Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova and guide Lada Nesterenko in second, and Russia’s Iuliia Budaleeva and guide Tatiana Maltseva in third.

“I have very strong competitors so as usual, the race was quite tough,” Shyshkova said through a translator. “I’m happy with the result and satisfied with my skiing.”

Competition continues on Friday with biathlon long-distance events.

Wednesday’s results: Men | Women

Complete results

 

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Arendz Fifth in 12.5 k on Second Day of Biathlon Races at IPC World Champs

Mark Arendz starting out in the men's 7.5 k biathlon sprint on the first day of 2015 IPC World Championships last Saturday in Cable, Wis. He placed sixth with two penalties. (Photo: Vince Rosetta)

Mark Arendz starting out in the men’s 7.5 k biathlon sprint on the first day of 2015 IPC World Championships last Saturday in Cable, Wis. He placed sixth with two penalties. (Photo: Tristin Bentzler)

Two-time Paralympic medalist, Mark Arendz, of the Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team, was one shot away from making the podium on Tuesday in the men’s 12.5-kilometer standing biathlon at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships in Cable, Wis.

Arendz, 24, hit 19 of his 20 targets, missing one on the second of four shooting stages. He finished fifth, 1:22.9 behind winner Vladislav Lekomtcev of Russia. Lekomtcev, like Norwegian runner-up Nils-Erik Ulset, shot clean to win in 32:41.4. Ulset was second, 52.8 seconds back, and Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh placed third with a single miss, 1:03.2 behind Lekomtcev.

“I felt more confident on the range today, but not quite as strong on the trails,” Arendz said in a Cross Country Canada press release. “In this field you can not afford any mistakes and I’m still making the obvious ones on the range. It was a good race today and I feel I’m getting closer to the leaders.”

Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova tallied her third gold of the week (in every event she’s raced so far) winning the women’s 10 k standing biathlon in 31:05.3. The 23-year-old Kononova led a Ukrainian sweep of the podium in the middle-distance event, with Liudmyla Liashenko taking silver (+1:27.4) and Iryna Bui cleaning for bronze (+3:43.9).

Russia nabbed 11 total medals on Tuesday with five wins in the biathlon races, including golds from Maria Iovleva in the women’s 10 k sitting (who led a Russian podium sweep), Iuliia Budaleeva and guide Tatiana Maltseva in the women’s 10 k visually impaired, Grigory Murygin in the men’s 12.5 k sitting, Nikolay Polukhin and guide Andrey Tokarev in the men’s 12.5 k visually impaired.

Dan Cnossen was the top American in eighth in the men’s sitting, missing one shot on his third  stage to finish 3:28.3 behind Murygin. Also for the U.S., Andy Soule, a two-time medalist at these championships so far, had six penalties to finish 0.3 seconds behind Cnossen. Sean Halstead placed 15th, Bryan Price was 16th and Augusto Perez finished 17th.

American Oksana Masters placed ninth in the women’s sitting with four penalties, 4:19.6 behind Iovleva, and Omar Bermejo was 14th in men’s standing, 13:39.6 behind Lekomtcev.

IPC World Championships continue on Wednesday with the cross-country ski sprint races.

Tuesday’s results: Men | Women

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McKeever Picks Up First Gold of World Champs for Canada; Soule Medals Again for U.S.

Andy Soule (U.S. Paralympics Nordic) at the flower ceremony on Sunday following his second medal in as many days at IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis. Soule earned bronze in the 15 k sitting cross-country race after taking silver in Saturday's biathlon race. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics)

Andy Soule (U.S. Paralympics Nordic) at the flower ceremony on Sunday following his second medal in as many days at IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis. Soule earned bronze in the 15 k sitting cross-country race after taking silver in Saturday’s biathlon race. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/James Netz)

CABLE, Wis. — Brian McKeever just needed one race to get it done and he did it. With childhood friend and longtime guide Erik Carleton, also of the Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team, McKeever, 35, defended his title in the men’s 20-kilometer visually-impaired freestyle race at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships on Sunday.

“It has been a pretty rough season to now, but it is starting to come around and today is validation of that. I’m pumped to see it come together,” McKeever said in a Cross Country Canada press release.

Brian McKeever (second from back right) and the rest of the 2014/2015 Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team, including (from left to right: Mike Edwards (PN Director), Kaspar Wirz (PNST coach), Mark Arendz, Erik Carleton (guide), Brittany Hudak, Chris Klebl (sitting), and Robin McKeever (PNST Head coach), not present Graham Nishikawa (guide). (Photo: CCC Facebook/Noel Rogers/Bow Valley Photography)

Brian McKeever (second from back right) and the rest of the 2014/2015 Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team, including (from left to right: Mike Edwards (PN Director), Kaspar Wirz (PNST coach), Mark Arendz, Erik Carleton (guide), Brittany Hudak, Chris Klebl (sitting), and Robin McKeever (PNST Head coach), not present Graham Nishikawa (guide).
(Photo: Facebook/Noel Rogers-Bow Valley Photography)

The night before, he arrived late into Cable, where he planned to compete in a single race at World Championships.

“The wax guys and coaches worked hard to choose skis for me. They deserve a big part of today’s medal because we were able to come in here, put our work boots on and race,” he said. “I’m excited I was able to do a good job today and prove to myself I am where I’m supposed to be. I am now looking forward to the rest of the season.”

A four-time Paralympian, McKeever won three golds at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games — two with Carleton and one with Graham Nishikawa. On Sunday, McKeever and Carleton finished in 43:44.5 minutes, 1:45.3 ahead of French runner-up Thomas Clarion and guide Julien Bourla. Russia’s Stanislav Chokhlaev and guide Evgenii Fatkhullin took bronze, another 12.4 seconds back.

Meanwhile for the U.S., Andy Soule (U.S. Paralympics Nordic Program) notched his second medal in as many days of World Championships, placing third in the men’s 15-kilometer sitting cross-country race. According to a U.S. Paralympics press release, it was Soule’s first medal in an international cross-country competition. He earned bronze in biathlon at the 2010 Paralympics.

Andy Soule racing to silver on Saturday in his first biathlon competition of the 2015 IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics)

Andy Soule racing to silver on Saturday in his first biathlon competition of the 2015 IPC World Championships in Cable, Wis. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/James Netz)

Russia’s Aleksandr Davidovich won the event in 44:06.2, Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi finished 5.1 seconds back in second, and Soule crossed the line 19.8 seconds back from the winner after colliding with a spectator on his last lap. According to the press release, he recovered quickly to keep himself well ahead of fourth place.

“It was a really good race, and the course was really fast,” Soule told U.S. Paralympics. “I just focused on breaking the race down into each area I needed to think about like skiing the straights fast and getting up the hills quickly and efficiently, and it paid off. I didn’t really worry about where I was in the standings; I just skied my race and had fun with it. It feels great to have two medals.”

2015 IPC World Championships silver-and-bronze medalist Andy Soule (c) with some of his support team, including U.S. Paralympics Nordic coaches John Farra (second from r) and Eileen Carey (r). (Photo: Vince Rosetta)

2015 IPC World Championships silver-and-bronze medalist Andy Soule (c) with some of his support team, including U.S. Paralympics Nordic coaches John Farra (second from r) and Eileen Carey (r). (Photo: Vince Rosetta)

U.S. High-Performance Coach Eileen Carey said it was an “amazing day” for Soule, considering it was his first cross-country medal.

“I think this is a good indication of his improvement in ski speed this year,” Carey said. “He paced the race really well, and he was making gains on the athletes in front of him the whole time. It was a really exciting race to watch.”

Canada’s 2014 Paralympic champion Chris Klebl finished fourth in the men’s sitting, 31 seconds behind the winner and 11.2 seconds behind Soule. American Aaron Pike tallied his best result in an international competition in fifth.

“Aaron had an awesome race,” Carey said. “This is a really hilly course, and he’s been working on his climbing technique. This was the best result he has had, and we’re excited to see all of his work pay off.”

A three-time U.S. Paralympic medalist in Sochi, Oksana Masters came within three seconds of bronze in the women’s sitting, finishing fourth behind Norway’s Mariann Marthinsen in third. Germany’s Andrea Eskau won it in 40:19.9, 6.8 seconds ahead of Russian silver medalist Marta Zaynullina and 52.4 seconds ahead of Marthinsen.

“The course was a little bit slower than yesterday and my strategy was not to push too hard on the first run,” Eskau told the IPC.

Andrea Eskau on her way to winning Germany's first gold of  2015 IPC World Championships in the women's long distance cross-country sitting event on Sunday in Cable, Wis. (Photo: IPC/James Netz)

Andrea Eskau on her way to winning Germany’s first gold of 2015 IPC World Championships in the women’s long distance cross-country sitting event on Sunday in Cable, Wis. (Photo: IPC/James Netz)

Also for the U.S., Tatyana McFadden placed eighth in the women’s sitting, and in the men’s sitting, Lt. Cmdr. Dan Cnossen also took eighth, Sean Halstead was 10th and Bryan Price finished 11th. Canadians Derek Zaplotinsky and Yves Bourque placed 12th and 13th, respectively.

Coming off a career-best fifth in the women’s standing biathlon race on Saturday, Canada’s Brittany Hudak placed sixth in the 15 k freestyle on Sunday. Hudak finished 5:40.5 behind Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova, who won her second-straight gold in 43:42.8. Emily Weekes placed eighth in the same event, about 11 minutes back from the winner.

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