Oksana Masters went from the bike to the skis in fine style as she claimed gold at the opening International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Para Nordic Skiing World Cup of the season in Vuokatti.
The Russian-born American competed in cycling events at the Rio 2016 Summer Paralympics in September, but is also a more than adept cross-country skier.
She claimed the women’s sitting title today as sprint races began the action at the Finnish resort.
“It was really good, really unexpected,” said 27-year-old Masters, who won the silver medal in the discipline at Sochi 2014 and also boasts a rowing bronze from London 2012.
“I just came off Rio and I only had a few weeks to train from cycling to skiing and especially on snow – we were only on snow for three weeks.
“I was so nervous, I had no expectations at all.
“I’m really, really shocked and excited.”
Norway’s Birgit Skarstein, another Rio 2016 Paralympian who competed in rowing, was second with Finland’s Sini Pyy clinching bronze on home snow.
Elsewhere, there were three gold medals for Ukraine with men’s sitting world champion Maksym Yarovyi leading Norway’s Trygve Steiner Larsen and Belarus’ Dzmitry Loban home.
In the women’s visually impaired, Oksana Shyskova won a second Ukrainian gold with guide Vitalii Kazakov in the 2.5 kilometer event.
Austria’s Carina Edlinger was not far behind in second, guided by Julian Josef Edlinger, in her first World Cup race.
Bronze went to German Clara Klug, guided by Florian Grimm.
Ukraine’s third gold came courtesy of Grigorii Vovchynskyi, who won the men’s standing in front of Finland’s Ilkka Tuomisto and Canada’s Mark Arendz respectively.
Japan’s Yurika Abe won the women’s standing, beating Ukraine’s Sochi 2014 silver medalist Yuliia Batenkova into silver.
Canada’s Emily Young enjoyed her first World Cup podium in third.
Another Canadian topped the pile as Brian McKeever returned to the World Cup circuit for the first time since 2014 with a win in the men’s visually impaired.
Sweden’s Zebastian Modin took silver with Ukraine earning another medal thanks to Iurii’s Utkin’s bronze.
By Dan Palmer
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.