Oksana Masters and Kendall Gretsch pose with their medals after the women’s 15 kilometer cross country sitting race during the World Para Snow Sports Championships on January 18, 2022 in Lillehammer, Norway.
Cross-country skiing has been part of the Paralympic Winter Games since its inception in 1976, and biathlon joined the party in 1988. Today, the disciplines – which at the Paralympic Games both operate under the banner of Nordic skiing – could be Team USA’s greatest strength. Although stars like Kendall Gretsch and Oksana Masters are known for racking up medals, the United States have plenty of depth, with Jake Adicoff, Sydney Peterson and Aaron Pike also picking up medals at the recent world championships in Lillehammer.
Athlete Spotlight: Kendall Gretsch and Oksana Masters
How can you choose just one? Sit-skiing superstars are often 1-2 in their races, and their historical similarities barely end there.
In 2018, Gretsch became the first American to win an Olympic or Paralympic medal in biathlon, and she also added a second gold medal in cross-country skiing. Then last summer, she won the paratriathlon in Tokyo, becoming the fifth American to win gold at the Summer and Winter Paralympics.
Masters also won two gold medals in Nordic skiing in 2018, taking her career total to eight Paralympic medals, including a bronze in 2012 as a rower. Then, in Tokyo, she won two gold medals as a cyclist, joining Gretsch in the closed club of summer and winter champions.
Key date: March 5
Sit-skier Dan Cnossen was Team USA’s most decorated athlete at the 2018 Paralympic Games, returning to Topeka, Kansas, with six medals. The former Navy SEAL won his only gold medal in the 7.5 kilometer biathlon. This year’s short race is 6 kilometers and kicks off Nordic competition at the Zhangjiakou Norwest National Biathlon Center in Beijing.
Read the Meet the Team story to get to know the entire Nordic Ski Team.