Oksana Masters wins first Paralympic gold after being told to sit out

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Oksana Masters was told this day would not happen. They told her two weeks ago, when she dislocated her right elbow in Montana. They told her yesterday, when she fell in a race, reinjured her arm and failed to finish.

Yet there was Masters, raising that arm, covered nearly from shoulder to wrist in a black brace, at the finish line of the 1.1km sitting cross-country skiing sprint at the PyeongChang Paralympics on Wednesday.

Masters, who previously earned five combined silver and bronze medals among three sports between the Summer and Winter Paralympics, finally earned her first gold.

“I did not believe this would happen,” she told Lewis Johnson on NBCSN. “I just knew that I wasn’t going to let yesterday be my last race and that’s how I end my Paralympic Games.”

Masters and Andy Soule notched an American sweep of the sitting sprint gold medals Wednesday. The U.S remained atop the medal standings through 53 of 80 events. The Americans have 21 total medals and eight golds, their most in either category since hosting the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

Masters, 28, grabbed her first gold in her 12th career Paralympic event at her fourth Games. She rowed at London 2012, cycled at Rio 2016 and competed in biathlon and cross-country skiing at Sochi 2014 and in three previous events in PyeongChang.

“Internally, I kind of knew that I have had four years into this, and I wasn’t going to let an elbow take that away from me,” Masters said, according to PyeongChang 2018.

Masters, skiing with what she called “excruciating” pain, held off German and Russian skiers by 2.1 and 3.7 seconds, respectively, in the four-minute final.

Masters has become one of the world’s most versatile athletes after being born in Ukraine with defects believed to be caused by the Chernobyl disaster and bouncing from orphanage to orphanage for seven years before being adopted by a single mother in New York.

“I cannot wait to put it around my mom’s neck,” she said of the gold medal. “I told her the first gold, it’s hers.”

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MORE: PyeongChang Paralympics TV, streaming schedule

Photo finish decides famed World Cup 50km cross-country race (video)

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The most hallowed World Cup cross-country skiing race — the Holmenkollen 50km in Oslo, Norway — was decided by a photo finish after more than two hours on course Saturday.

Swiss Dario Cologna edged Norwegian Martin Johnsrud Sundby in a lean, both crossing the line in 2 hours, 1 minute, 48.1 seconds.

Cologna, who owns four individual Olympic titles among the last three Winter Games, captured his first Holmenkollen win after runners-up in 2012 and 2015.

“Going to the finish I thought he would be stronger than me,” Cologna said, according to the International Ski Federation. “It is amazing to finally win here. It’s the most important individual competition on the World Cup. I had to wait some years to finally get this victory.”

Sundby, the World Cup overall champion three of the previous four seasons, was trying to become the first man to win three Holmenkollen 50km races.

“Dario has been second a few times only by a few centimetres, so I think it was karma or something that Dario finally got his victory,” Sundby said.

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MORE: Best cross-country skiing moments from PyeongChang Olympics

Best cross-country skiing moments from the 2018 Winter Olympics

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From the United States’ first-ever cross-country gold medal to the Shirtless Tongan, check out the best moments from the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics cross-country skiing competition.

Incredible call captures Diggins’, Randall’s historic gold-medal moment

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall made United States cross-country skiing history in PyeongChang with their gold medal in the women’s team sprint. Diggins and Randall became the first American cross-country skiers to win a gold and the first American women to win an Olympic medal in cross-country skiing. Oh, and they ended a 42-year Olympic medal drought. You’re going to want to revisit NBC Olympics’ Chad Salmela’s epic call of their historic gold.

Bjorgen’s historic Olympics begin

It was a foregone conclusion that Norwegian skier Marit Bjorgen would make history in PyeongChang before the Games began. She needed one medal to become the most decorated female Winter Olympian ever. She accomplished that on her first try, taking home a silver in the women’s 15km skiathlon. History didn’t stop here for Bjorgen but more on that later. Below, you can see the first of her historic PyeongChang Olympics. She really is something special.

Click here to read the full story and watch the best highlights from PyeongChang