Update: On Wednesday in Tokyo, Oksana Masters claimed her second Paralympic gold medal in as many races, winning the women’s cycling road race H5. A video of that race can be viewed here.
Originally Published: August 31, 2021
On Tuesday at the Tokyo Paralympics, Oksana Masters claimed medal in her fourth sport, having previously won awards in rowing, cross-country skiing, and biathlon. China’s Sun Bianbian claimed silver, and the Netherlands’ Jennette Jansen earned bronze. (A highlight can be viewed here.) Masters said the result was simultaneously years in the making – a total surprise. “This was not expected. I was trying to hold on and fight for third place,” the 32-year-old Masters told Service after the race. “I never in a million years thought I would be fighting for a gold medal. At Tokyo 2020. In cycling.”time trial. She crossed the line in 45:40.05 to earn her ninth Paralympic
Tokyo, Japan – Oksana Masters competing in theParalympics. (Photo by Moto Yoshimura/Getty Images) In May, Masters had surgery to remove a tumor from her femur. “There is still a small crack in the door to make it to Tokyo, and you better believe I am determined to make it,” she wrote on Instagram in . Masters crashed in her race at U.S. Paralympic Trials later that month but was ultimately named to the U.S. team for Tokyo thanks to her results at other international competitions. Earlier this , she wrote that reaching the Tokyo Paralympics was “a win in itself.”
While Masters was admittedly shocked by her result in Tokyo, she acknowledged that she had been working towards this moment for the last five years. At the 2016 Rio Paralympics, she finished just off the podium in both cycling events she entered, placing fourth in the H5 road race and fifth in the H4-5 . After to ’s race, she said she had been dreaming about this moment since “the day after I crossed the finish line in Rio 2016 in fifth place.” Masters continued: “I knew what I did wrong and wanted to fix it. It just means more to me being able to have an amazing, incredible race regardless of the result of the medal color – to know that I fixed my wrongs from Rio and that I’m growing as a cyclist.”
Oksana Masters’ Journey to Becoming a Paralympic cycling gold medalist
This is only the most recent comeback story for Masters, born in 1989 with congenital disabilities believed to be from the aftermath of theaccident. She spent the first seven shuffling between Ukrainian orphanages until she was adopted by an American mother, Gay, who had to wait two-and-a-half years to bring her daughter to the United States due to a moratorium on foreign adoptions.
When Masters was 13 Winter Games, winning two medals: a silver and a bronze., she and her mom moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where she was introduced to rowing. Ten years later, she made her Paralympic debut at the 2012 London Games, Jones, a retired U.S. Marine Sergeant. But one year after London, Masters broke her back – an injury that put her rowing career on hold. She began cross-country skiing “almost by accident” after she was introduced to a Nordic skiing coach. Fourteen months later, she made her Paralympic debut in that sport at the 2014 Sochi
After she claimed four South Korea, winning a silver and then a bronze in her first two races. But in her third event – the biathlon 10km sitting competition – she re-injured her elbow in a crash and did something she hates: withdrew from the race.in 2017, expectations were even higher heading into the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympics. Just before the Pyeongchang Games, she dislocated her elbow after slipping on a patch of ice. Suddenly, her Paralympic outlook was much less confident. Still, Masters showed up to the start line in
Twenty-four hours later, with the help of team doctors, she was back in the snow for the cross-country sprint. She posted the fastestin her qualifying and semifinal round heats before claiming her first Paralympic gold medal in the final. Six months from now, Masters aims to defend that gold medal at the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics. But at the moment, she said she’s focused on Tokyo. She has one individual in Tokyo: the women’s H5 road race, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Tokyo (Tuesday night in the United States). “Right now, I’m just so lucky to be here lining up on the start line here in Tokyo,” she said.
RELATED: Oksana Masters dominates to medal in her fourth sport, wins first summer Paralympic gold
Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC
How to watch the Tokyo Paralympics
NBC will provide over 1,200 hours of Paralympic coverage. Here are some highlights:
- A full Paralympic T.V. schedule (which includes an overview of coverage on NBC, NBCSN, and Olympic Channel) can be found here.
- Events can also be live-streamed on NBCOlympics.com and the app. More info is available here.
More Paralympic Coverage
2021 Paralympics: Women have won 65% of Team USA’s medals in Tokyo 25 years after Paralympic debut; Cheri Madsen claims ninth career medal. Kylie Grimes: the first woman toin wheelchair rugby. With , Oksana Masters is a Paralympic medalist in four sports. Originally appeared on NBCSports.com.