2022 Paralympic Winter Games: Athletes, Stars to watch at the Beijing Winter Paralympics

Oksana Masters is among several U.S. stars set to compete at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing.
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The 2022 Paralympic Winter Games begin on Friday, March 4 through Sunday, March 13 in Beijing, China. The competition will feature approximately 564 athletes battling it out across a total of 78 medal events (39 for men, 35 for women, and 4 mixed events). See below for just a few of the talented U.S. stars to watch at the Beijing Winter Paralympics. Click here for the daily TV schedule.

RELATED: 2022 Paralympic Winter Games – Day-by-day viewing guide to the Beijing Winter Paralympics

U.S. Stars to watch at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games

Oksana Masters (Louisville, KY) – Cross-Country Skiing and Biathlon: Masters, a five-time Paralympian and 10-time Paralympic medalist is the most decorated athlete on the U.S. roster. She returns to Beijing to compete in cross-country skiing and biathlon. For Masters, it’s been just six months since she competed at the Summer Paralympics in Tokyo, taking home road cycling gold medals in time trial and road race.

RELATED: Team USA medal count at 2022 Paralympic Winter Games – Full list of every medal won by the United States

Laurie Stephens (Wenham, MA) – Alpine Skiing: Stephens is the second most decorated winter sport athlete on the team with seven Paralympic medals in alpine skiing: two golds, two silvers, and three bronzes. Beijing marks the fifth Paralympic appearance for the Massachusetts native.

RELATED: Last fall, the Paralympics weren’t on Sydney Peterson’s radar. She just won silver in her Games debut

Mike Schultz (St. Cloud, MN) – Snowboarding: Schultz made his Paralympic debut in 2018 where he won the gold medal in snowboard cross and the silver in banked slalom. The Minnesota native is also a self-taught engineer. In July 2010, he founded his own prosthetics company (BioDapt) and he has since outfitted over 100 people with prosthetics (including some of his competitors).

Brittani Coury (Durango, CO) – Snowboarding: Brittani Coury will be making her second Paralympic appearance in Beijing. She previously won a Paralympic silver medal in banked slalom back in 2018. Coury, who became the first member of her family to receive a Bachelor’s degree when she graduated from nursing school in 2020, volunteered to help with the COVID-19 wards at the University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City, Utah.

RELATED: Danelle Umstead, Tyler Carter elected U.S. flagbearers for Paralympic Opening Ceremony

Josh Pauls (Greenbrook, NJ) – Sled Hockey: Josh Pauls is a three-time Paralympic gold medalist (2010, 2014, 2018) and five-time world champion (2021, 2019, 2015, 2012, 2009). He served as captain for the gold medal-winning 2018 Paralympic and 2019 world championship teams and helped lead the team to a world title win against Canada at the 2021 Para World Ice Hockey Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Andrew Kurka (Palmer, AK) – Alpine Skiing: Beijing marks the second competitive Paralympic appearance for two-time Paralympic medalist Andrew Kurka. The Alaska native earned a spot on the Paralympic team at the 2014 Games in Sochi but crashed during a training run and injured his back, leaving him unable to partake in the Opening Ceremony or compete for a medal. He returned to the Paralympic stage in 2018 in PyeongChang where he became the first Alaskan Paralympic medalist when he won a gold medal in downhill and a silver medal in super-G.

RELATED: What to know about the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games

Who are the U.S. flagbearers for the Beijing Paralympics?

Alpine skiers Danelle Umstead and Tyler Carter will be the U.S. flagbearers for the Paralympic Opening Ceremony on Friday. Umstead, 50, is a three-time bronze medalist competing in the visually impaired classification. Carter, 28, is making his third Paralympic appearance. He finished 27th in the giant slalom in 2014 and 19th in the slalom in 2018. Beijing will be the final Games for both skiers.

How can I watch the Winter Paralympic Games?

NBC Universal will provide over 230 hours of Paralympic programming across NBC, Peacock, USA Network, Olympic Channel, NBCOlympics.com, and the NBC Sports App. Click here for the day-by-day TV viewing guide with how to watch information and more.

In its most ambitious effort ever for a Winter Paralympics, NBCU’s coverage, which will once again be presented by Toyota, will feature a record 120 hours of television coverage; seven total hours on the NBC broadcast network, including three in primetime, a first for a Winter Paralympics; similar to the Beijing Olympics, coverage of all events and competition on Peacock; live coverage of the Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony on USA Network; and comprehensive live streaming coverage on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app via authentication, including all television coverage as well as exclusive coverage of alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, sled hockey, snowboarding, and wheelchair curling.

RELATED: 2022 Winter Paralympics – Meet the 15 women representing Team USA

Be sure to follow NBCOlympics.com and OlympicTalk for the latest on the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games! 

Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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Kaillie Humphries begins trek to 2026 Winter Olympics with monobob World Cup win

Kaillie Humphries
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Kaillie Humphries is off to a strong start to a four-year cycle that she hopes ends with her breaking the record as the oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

Humphries, the women’s record holder with three Olympic bobsled titles, earned her first World Cup victory since February’s Winter Games, taking a monobob in Park City, Utah, on Friday.

Humphries, the first Olympic monobob champion, prevailed by .31 of a second over German Lisa Buckwitz combining times from two runs at the 2002 Olympic track.

Humphries has said since February’s Olympics that she planned to take time off in this four-year cycle to start a family, then return in time for the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games. Humphries, who can become the first female Olympic bobsledder in her 40s, shared her experiences with IVF in the offseason on her social media.

“We’ve pushed pause so that I could go and compete this season, maintain my world ranking to be able to still work towards my 2026 goals, and we’ll go back in March to do the implantation of the embryos that we did retrieve,” she said, according to TeamUSA.org.

The next Games come 20 years after her first Olympic experience in Italy, which was a sad one. Humphries, then a bobsled push athlete, was part of the Canadian delegation at the 2006 Torino Games, marched at the Opening Ceremony and had her parents flown in to cheer her on.

But four days before the competition, Humphries learned she was not chosen for either of the two Canadian push athlete spots. She vowed on the flight home to put her future Olympic destiny in her own hands by becoming a driver.

She has since become the greatest female driver in history — Olympic golds in 2010, 2014 and 2022, plus five world championships.

Her longtime rival, five-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, plans to return to competition from her second childbirth later in this Olympic cycle and can also break the record of oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

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