Roundup: Sit Skier Lera Doederlein Wins Gold Again … In Sled Hockey
by Alex Abrams
Every other week we scour the web for the latest going on in the world of U.S. Para Nordic skiing. Here’s what you missed!
Lera Doederlein Wins Another Sled Hockey Gold
For the second consecutive year, Lera Doederlein scored a goal to help the U.S. women’s sled hockey team win a gold medal in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Doederlein found the back of the net, and the Americans earned a 2-0 win over Canada to defend their title at the 2023 Para Ice Hockey Women’s World Challenge on Sept. 3. They finished the tournament undefeated, winning all four of their games.
Doederlein, a native of Escondido, California, is a two-sport athlete. She competes in Para Nordic skiing during the winter and sled hockey in the offseason.
A year ago, Doederlein scored a goal as the U.S. cruised to a 5-1 win over Canada in the gold-medal game to win the first-ever Women’s World Challenge. She made her Paralympic debut as a sit skier at the 2022 Beijing Games.
The official Instagram account for the Paralympics shared several photos from this year’s gold-medal match, including one of Doederlein knocking Canadian player Raphaelle Tousignant off-balance.
Oksana Masters Looks Ahead To Paralympics
Oksana Masters is already excited to compete at the Paralympic Games Paris 2024.
Masters recently posted on Instagram to recognize the day marking one year before the start of the Paris Paralympics. She’s a 17-time Paralympic medalist in cycling, Nordic skiing and rowing, and she hopes to add to her medal count as a cyclist in France.
“And now I’m here, celebrating one year out mark from what hopefully will be my 7th #Paralympic Games,” Masters wrote on Instagram. “I am laying the foundation in my training and getting stronger every day to be the best version of myself next year on the start line. Let’s do this.”
The six-time Paralympian will be among the favorites to medal in Paris.
Despite missing most of this past Para Nordic skiing season because of a hand injury, Masters returned to racing in August at the 2023 UCI World Championships in Scotland.
Masters won the women’s H5 road race in a photo finish on Aug. 11.
Methow Valley Nordic Provides Access For Skiers
The Methow Valley in northern Washington state has become a popular training ground for Para Nordic skiing over the past few years.
The Methow Valley Nordic Ski Educational Foundation hosted its first Para Nordic skiing camp in February, attracting a small group that included Paralympians and newcomers to the sport.
Paralympian Erin Martin and Paralympic hopeful Heather Galeotalanza have trained together in the Methow Valley.
“Erin and Heather, they were the ones that spurred our group on,” Betsy Devin-Smith, a biathlon and Para Nordic skiing coach with Methow Valley Nordic, told USParaNordic.org. “And we kind of then ran with it, wanting to make sure we have access for all because that’s the kind of community we are.”
Para Nordic Skiers Stay In Shape With SkiErg
Para Nordic skiers have found a way to stay in shape when there’s no snow on the group.
They can use an exercise machine called a Concept2 SkiErg, which is like a rowing machine designed for cross-country skiers.
Athletes use the SkiErg by pulling down on the two handles attached to the machine, simulating the double-pole skiing technique that Para Nordic skiers utilize to move across snow-covered trails.
“It’s the closest thing we have to mimicking what we do on snow and provides the athletes (a way) to keep those muscles and everything kind of awake,” BethAnn Chamberlain, a development coach with U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing, told USParaNordic.org.
Alex Abrams has written about Olympic sports for more than 15 years, including as a reporter for major newspapers in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a freelance contributor to USParaNordic.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.