Nordic Roundup: Reaching The Podium Is Never A Solo Effort For Oksana Masters
by Alex Abrams
Oksana Masters smiles after a race in PyeongChang. (Photo: Joe Kusumoto)
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!
Oksana Masters Feels“A Bit Weird” Standing On A Medal Podium
Oksana Masters should be accustomed to standing on a podium after a race with a medal draped around her neck.
After all, she’s an eight-time Paralympic medalist. Even after winning a pair of gold medals in Para Nordic skiing in 2018, she admitted she still doesn’t feel entirely comfortable accepting a medal.
Masters won the H5 time trial and took silver in the road race at last week’s UCI Para-Cycling World Cup in Ostend, Belgium. It marked the first world cup race of the 2020-21 Para-cycling schedule.
Masters shared on Twitter a photo of herself standing on a medal podium with her hand over her heart. She then tried to sum up the moment.
“Standing on the podium is always a bit weird because I didn’t do it on my own,” Masters wrote. “Extremely grateful to have an incredible team behind me including the @usparacycling staff, my coach, #TeamCAF, and my incredible sponsors who help bring my dreams to life.”
Standing on the podium is always a bit weird because I didn’t do it on my own. Extremely grateful to have an incredible team behind me including the @usparacycling staff, my coach, #TeamCAF, and my incredible sponsors who help bring my dreams to life. 🙏🏼🥰. #TeamUSA— Oksana Masters (@OksanaMasters) May 7, 2021
📸 @cbgphoto pic.twitter.com/kwwuqilxMp
Masters, a four-time Paralympian, is considered a medal contender in Para-cycling at this summer’s Tokyo Paralympics.
Visually Impaired Athletes Discuss Relationship With Guides
Para Nordic skiing is more of a team sport than a solo event for visually impaired athletes who must rely on a personal guide during a race.
Each guide skis in front of visually impaired athlete and gives verbal cues about what’s coming up on the course. It’s a partnership that helps visually impaired skiers safely navigate the course and finish the race.
“I would say it’s 100 percent a team kind of relationship, because I couldn’t be out there doing what I’m doing without (my guide), and the same with her,” 2018 Paralympian Mia Zutter told TeamUSA.org.
Aaron Pike Enjoys Star Wars-Themed Birthday
Four-time Paralympian Aaron Pike turned 35 on May 4, which has become known as Star Wars Day (“May the 4th be with you).”
Masters, who has been in a long-term relationship with Pike, celebrated his birthday in Star Wars fashion.
“I knew from the start the force was strong with this one,” Masters wrote on Twitter. “HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the best human in this universe/galaxy.”
I knew from the start the force was strong with this one 😘 👀🥰— Oksana Masters (@OksanaMasters) May 4, 2021
HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the best human in this universe/galaxy @Pikester86 💚💚💚#MayThe4thBeWithYou #StarWarsDay
📸: Harry How @GettySport pic.twitter.com/HqADP5KbvT
More Details Are Coming About The Upcoming Para Nordic Skiing Season
Like other sports across the globe, Para Nordic skiing had this past season interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Officials from around the world will hold a virtual meeting on June 15 to discuss the 2020-21 season.
Where are #ParaSnowSports headed? We'll find out at the next Online Nations Meetings in June.📌
📰 More details on the upcoming annual event in our story 👉 https://t.co/hD14IGKSlO #ParaAlpine #ParaNordic #ParaSnowboard pic.twitter.com/oi2rbmNQB9
— Para Snow Sports (@ParaSnowSports) May 7, 2021
Around the Web
Paul Leimkuehler, who’s known as “The Grandfather of Handicap Skiing,” is the subject of new documentary about his life entitled “Fresh Tracks.”
Leimkuehler, the first U.S. amputee skier, designed an outrigger that has allowed generations of adaptive athletes to ski. He was inducted into the National Disabled Ski Hall of Fame in 1996, three years after he died at age 75.
Katie Leimkuehler, his granddaughter, made the documentary about life storyas a way to inspire audiences.