With just one day of competition now left, Team USA kicked off the final weekend of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics with podium-worthy performances in cross-country and Alpine skiing. The U.S.’ medal haul was highlighted by Oksana Masters’ win in the 5km sitting cross-country event; it was the second gold medal of PyeongChang for Masters, who was just chosen as Team USA’s flag bearer for Sunday’s Closing Ceremony.
Medal were also awarded today in wheelchair curling and sled hockey. Curling wrapped up with both the bronze and gold medal matches, while an extremely tight bronze medal game in sled hockey determined the third and fourth place finishers.
Para Alpine skiing
The Alpine skiing schedule was reshuffled earlier in the week, with the men’s slalom event moved closer to the tail end of the Paralympic Games. Two U.S. skiers claimed medals in the slalom: Jamie Stanton was the bronze medalist in the standing division and Tyler Walker won silver in the sitting division.
Men’s slalom – Visually impaired gold medalists: Giacom Bertagnolli and guide Fabrizio Casal, ITA
- Team USA athletes: Kevin Burton and guide Brandon Ashby were ninth after their first run, but did not finish in the second.
Men’s slalom – Standing gold medalist: Adam Hall, NZL
Eight years after winning this event in Vancouver, Hall reclaimed his title at age 30. Hall, who also won bronze in the super combined in PyeongChang, told media after his victory, “I am going to be in shock for some time. Eight years later. It has been a lot of hard work.”
- Team USA athletes: After finishing fourth in the super combined event, Jamie Stanton claimed his first Paralympic medal in the slalom. Stanton had the fastest first run, followed by the third fastest second run and claimed bronze. The U.S.’ Thomas Walsh also finished near the top of the standings, fifth.
Men’s slalom – Sitting gold medalist: Cino Sokolovic, CRO
Sokolovic made history with his win, becoming the first Croatian athlete to win Winter Paralympic gold.
- Team USA athletes: Tyler Walker, the giant slalom silver medalist, won a second silver in the slalom event. PyeongChang is 31-year-old Walker’s fourth Paralympic Games, and the first in which he has won medals. After today’s medal win, Walker told reporters that making the giant slalom podium helped him get “all my years of frustration and emotion out,” making today’s competition “a completely different experience. I just went and skied today and had fun.”
Para Cross-Country Skiing
Men’s 10km Classic – Visually impaired gold medalist: Brian McKeever, CAN
Canada’s Brian McKeever won his 12th Paralympic gold medal in the men’s 10km classic, his second gold medal of these Games. McKeever made his Paralympic debut in 2002 in Salt Lake City.
- Team USA athletes: After finishing fourth in the sprint and fifth in the 20km, Jake Adicoff and guide Sawyer Kesselheim finally had the race they needed to land on their first podium in PyeongChang, winning silver in the men’s 10km classic. The silver medal is the first Paralympic medal for Adicoff, who made his Paralympic debut in 2014 in Sochi.
Men’s 10km Classic – Standing gold medalist: Yoshihiro Nitta, JPN
After the race, Nitta told reporters that he had promised his wife he’d buy her a luxury handbag if he won gold. But he wasn’t sure just how luxurious the purse would be. “We’ll have a family discussion about this,” he said. “Hermes is too expensive, maybe it will be a Gucci one.”
- No competing Team USA athletes
Men’s 7.5km Classic – Sitting gold medalist: Sin Eui-Hyun, KOR
Sin won the host country’s first gold medal of the 2018 Paralympics when he claimed victory in the 7.5km. The 37-year-old previously competed in sled hockey and Para cycling, but took up Nordic skiing in 2015 in hopes of competing at his home Paralympics. Sin, who carried South Korea’s flag into the Opening Ceremony, also won bronze in the sitting division of the men’s 15km cross-country event in PyeongChang.
- Team USA athletes: Dan Cnossen took silver, his sixth Paralympic medal in as many events in PyeongChang. Cnossen has won three cross-country medals and three biathlon medals, including gold in the 7.5km, over the last week. The U.S.’ Andrew Soule finished fifth.
Women’s 7.5km Classic – Visually impaired gold medalists: Sviatlana Sakhanenka and guide Raman Yashchanka, BLR
Along with her guide Raman Yashchanka, Belarus’ Sviatlana Sakhanenka swept all three individual gold medals in cross-country skiing’s visually impaired class at the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics.
- Team USA athletes: Mia Zutter and guide Kristina Trygstad-Saari finished in ninth place.
Women’s 7.5km Classic – Standing gold medalist: Natalie Wilkie, CAN
- Team USA athletes: Grace Miller finished in 18th place.
Women’s 5km Classic – Sitting gold medalist: Oksana Masters, USA
This was the second Paralympic gold medal for Masters (the first came in the cross-country sprint event) and fifth overall in PyeongChang.
- Other Team USA athletes: Kendall Gretsch finished sixth overall. Gretsch and Masters previously shared the podium in the 12km sitting cross-country event, where Gretsch claimed gold and Masters took bronze.
Bronze Medal Final: South Korea vs. Italy
Final: South Korea 1, Italy 0
After Sin Eui-Hyun’s historic gold in cross-country, host country South Korea found another reason to celebrate when their sled hockey team held off Italy to win the bronze-medal match. Forward Seung-Hwan Jung scored the winning gold with just over three minutes remaining, and received a standing ovation from an audience that included South Korean president Moon Jae-In. Italy was unable to get anything past goaltender Lee Jae-Woong, who also celebrated his 22nd birthday today.
South Korea had never before won a Paralympic medal in sled hockey. Italy’s fourth-place finish was also their best ever in this event; they were sixth at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics.
Gold Medal Final: China vs. Norway
Final: China 6, Norway 5
China’s wheelchair curling team made history with their victory in the gold medal match, becoming their country’s first ever Winter Paralympic champions. Chinese skip Wang Haitao led his team to an early lead by scoring two points in the first end, but Norway was able to keep up and at the conclusion of the eighth end the teams were tied at five points apiece. But China had the last-shot advantage over Norway in the ninth and final end. China precisely shot around six guards to place a stone in the four-foot, and claimed victory when neither of skip Rune Lorentsen’s final stones were able to remove it.
Bronze Medal Final: South Korea vs. Canada
Final: South Korea 3, Canada 5
Canada had won the past two gold medals in Paralympic wheelchair curling, but in PyeongChang, bronze was the medal of victory. Canada needed just seven ends to secure their third straight wheelchair curling Paralympic medal. South Korea, playing in front of a gallery of enthusiastic fans, struggled to make the shots they needed when it mattered most. Several errant stones in the final end could have kept South Korea in the match, but in the end the bronze went to Canada. The bronze medal win makes Ina Forrest, vice skip for Team Canada, just the second Canadian wheelchair curler to win three Paralympic medals.