Dani Aravich competes in the Women’s Middle Distance Biathlon competition during the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games on March 8, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.
The transfer of talent to US Nordic skiing has been a real showcase for endurance this week, with many athletes trying to tackle a packed schedule in Zhangjiakou. Masters and Gretsch have already competed in four events, with Masters winning one gold and three silver medals so far and Gretsch having won one gold and one bronze.
“With a lot of the events we go to, there are six races, so managing our energy across the six is really difficult, but it’s something we practice at all the World Cups we go to,” said Gretsch, who finished fifth in cross country. -the final of the country sprint on Wednesday, with two other races expected.
“It’s a very tight turnaround from summer sports, but it’s something we do every season, so we practiced it. I’m so lucky to be on Team USA and to have the resources to do it, my strength coach being the same all year round as well as my nutritionist, so they can help me make this transition well.
Aravich, a former cross-country and track and field athlete at Butler University, compared the feeling of a sprint distance in cross-country skiing to running an 800-meter track. Wide-eyed and giddy, she was thrilled to see her family through the NBC camera feed after her race, thanking her support system for helping her juggle two para sports at once.
“My parents have been great through it all. When I started training for the track two and a half years ago I left a full time job to do it and that had a lot of implications financial,” she said. “My parents have been very supportive of me helping me get to races and paying for training, so for them to see me do this in a row is very rewarding not only for me, but also for them.”
All of that meant quitting her dream full-time job in the Utah Jazz community relations department, but she was able to bring with her the lessons she learned working backstage with a professional sports team.
“It was really great to be able to see the team’s impact on our local community,” she said. “I have really enjoyed the time spent working in professional sports and it has given me a good perspective going into the athlete side to see how the business works.”
As the US Paralympic Nordic Ski Team aims to attract more stand-up skiers in the next Paralympic cycle, Aravich hopes her top-10 performance inspired a little girl somewhere.
Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games? Visit TeamUSA.org/Beijing-2022-Paralympic-Games to view the competition schedule, medal table and results.