Oksana Masters wins first U.S. gold of Winter Paralympics; Ukraine gets 3 golds

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Oksana Masters began what could be a historic Winter Paralympics by winning the first U.S. gold medal of the Games. Ukraine earned the most golds on the first day of competition.

Masters, a biathlete and cross-country skier, won the women’s biathlon sitting sprint, her fifth career Paralympic gold medal and 11th overall medal between Summer and Winter Games. Fellow American Kendall Gretsch took bronze, four years after winning the sitting sprint.

“In Sochi 2014 I was a medal contender. I went the wrong way and was out of the medals,” Masters said. “In PyeongChang I didn’t get to race healthy [fractured elbow], and here, my third time around — it just feels absolutely incredible.”

PARALYMPICS: Broadcast Schedule | Viewer Guide | FAQs | Russia, Belarus Barred

Masters could race up to seven times over nine days of medal competition through March 13.

She moved into a tie for third on the U.S. women’s career Winter Paralympic medal list with her eighth. Alpine skiers Sarah Will and Sarah Billmeier share the record of 13, which Masters could pass at these Games.

Masters now owns Paralympic gold medals in biathlon, cross-country skiing and cycling. She won two cycling golds at the Tokyo Games six months ago. Gretsch won triathlon gold at the Tokyo Games.

Masters, 32, was born in Ukraine with a set of birth defects believed to be caused by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. She bounced between orphanages for seven years before being adopted by an American single mother.

“It’s the stars and stripes 🇺🇸 that keeps my Ukrainian heart beating,” was posted on Masters’ social media before the Games. “I’ve always been proud of where I come from. And I can’t wait to race for the two countries that make me whole.”

Ukraine won three of the other five biathlon events on day one, including a medals sweep of the men’s vision impaired sprint. Ukraine, a Paralympic power, won the most biathlon medals at the 2018 Paralympics.

“Medals mean nothing compared to the lives of relatives and people who have suffered already through war,” said Oksana Shyshkova, who won the women’s vision impaired sprint.

In hockey, Declan Farmer broke Joe Howard‘s career U.S. Paralympic points record with one goal and three assists in a 5-0 win over rival Canada, giving him 26 career points. It was a rematch of the 2018 Paralympic final, won on Farmer’s golden goal in overtime.

The Winter Paralympics feature 78 medal events across six sports — Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon, snowboarding, hockey and curling — with more than 600 athletes expected to compete from around the world, including 67 Americans.

In 2018, the U.S. topped the Winter Paralympic standings in total medals (36) and gold medals (13) for the first time since 1992.

ON HER TURF: Masters shares happiness, heartache ahead of Paralympics

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships TV, live stream schedule

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Every race of the world Alpine skiing championships airs live on Peacock from Feb. 6-19.

France hosts the biennial worlds in Meribel and Courchevel — six women’s races, six men’s races and one mixed-gender team event.

Mikaela Shiffrin is the headliner, in the midst of her most successful season in four years with a tour-leading 11 World Cup wins in 23 starts. Shiffrin is up to 85 career World Cup victories, one shy of Ingemar Stenmark‘s record accumulated over the 1970s and ’80s.

World championships races do not count in the World Cup tally.

Shiffrin is expected to race at least four times at worlds, starting with Monday’s combined. She earned a medal in 11 of her 13 career world championships races, including each of the last 10 dating to 2015.

Shiffrin won at least one race at each of the last five world championships (nobody has gold from six different worlds). Her six total golds and 11 total medals are American records. At this edition, she can become the most decorated skier in modern world championships history from any nation.

She enters one medal shy of the record for most individual world championships medals since World War II (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt) and four medals shy of the all-time record. (Worlds were held annually in the 1930s, albeit with fewer races.)

She is also one gold medal shy of the post-World War II individual record shared by Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson.

The other favorites at these worlds include Italian Sofia Goggia, the world’s top female downhiller this season, and the two leading men: Swiss Marco Odermatt (No. 1 in super-G and giant slalom) and Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (No. 1 in downhill).

2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships Broadcast Schedule

Date Event Time (ET) Platform
Mon., Feb. 6 Women’s Combined Super-G Run 5 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Combined Slalom Run 8:30 a.m. Peacock
Tues., Feb. 7 Men’s Combined Super-G Run 5 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Combined Slalom Run 8:30 a.m. Peacock
Wed., Feb. 8 Women’s Super-G 5:30 a.m. Peacock
Thu., Feb. 9 Men’s Super-G 5:30 a.m. Peacock
Sat., Feb. 11 Women’s Downhill 5 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 2:30 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 12 Men’s Downhill 5 a.m Peacock
Highlights 3 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Tue., Feb. 14 Team Parallel 6:15 a.m. Peacock
Men’s/Women’s Parallel Qualifying 11 a.m. Peacock
Wed., Feb. 15 Men’s/Women’s Parallel 6 a.m. Peacock
Thu., Feb. 16 Women’s Giant Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Giant Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Fri., Feb. 17 Men’s Giant Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Giant Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Sat., Feb. 18 Women’s Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 2:30 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 19 Men’s Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 3 p.m.* NBC, Peacock

*Delayed broadcast
*All NBC coverage streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for TV subscribers.

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