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    Oksana Masters

    Ones to watch
    USA USA Para Nordic skiing 19 June 1989

    Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine

    female Para Nordic skier Oksana Masters


    Human Interest
    Data Value
    Impairment Information
    Type of Impairment Limb deficiency
    Origin of Impairment Congenital
    Classification LW12
    Further Personal Information
    Languages English
    Sport Specific Information
    When and where did you begin this sport? She took up Nordic skiing in 2013 in Breckenridge, CO, United States of America.
    Why this sport? "Cross-country skiing was an accident. I love winter, I love snow, I lived in Buffalo, I am from Ukraine where it gets cold in winter, so it is in my blood. A cross-country skiing coach heard that I wanted to try it and gave me that opportunity. A few weeks later I got to go out on the snow and try it, and I fell in love with it."
    Club / Team Bridger Ski Foundation [BSF]: Bozeman, MT, USA
    Name of coach Eileen Carey [national], USA; Gary Colliander, USA
    International Debut
    Year 2013
    Competing for United States
    General Interest
    Nicknames Roxy, Oops-Ana Grace, Mustafa (teamusa.org, 14 Nov 2013; leoweekly.com, 25 May 2011)
    Hobbies Swimming, rowing, working out, travel. (teamusa.org, 01 Jun 2017; oksanamastersusa.com, 2017)
    Memorable sporting achievement Winning two gold medals at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (Athlete, 29 Mar 2018)
    Most influential person in career Her adoptive mother Gay, Nordic skiing coach Eileen Carey, rowing coach Bob Hurley. (Athlete, 29 Mar 2018)
    Injuries She fractured her right elbow three weeks prior to the start of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. At the time she was told she would not be able to compete in Pyeongchang, but she recovered in time to win five medals. After the Games she underwent two operations, with the second one taking place in October 2018. She returned to competition in December 2018 at the World Cup event in Vuokatti, Finland. (paralympic.org, 17 Dec 2018; teamusa.org, 26 Apr 2018; pyeongchang2018.com, 10 Mar 2018)

    She experienced back problems in 2014. (oksanamastersusa.com, 2017)
    Sporting philosophy / motto "To be irreplaceable one must always be different." (Twitter profile, 04 Sep 2017)
    Awards and honours In 2018 she was named Individual Sportswoman of the Year by the Women's Sports Foundation in New York City, NY, United States of America. (paralympic.org, 23 Oct 2018)

    She was named Team USA's Female Paralympic Athlete of the Games after winning five medals at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (teamusa.org, 26 Apr 2018)

    She was flag bearer for the United States of America at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (teamusa.org, 16 Mar 2018)

    She was named the 2017 Para Nordic Skier of the Year by online publication FasterSkier. (fasterskier.com, 10 Apr 2017)

    She was named the 2012 United States [US] Rowing Female Athlete of the Year. (teamusa.org, 14 Nov 2013)

    She and her teammate Rob Jones received the 2012 Isabel Bohn Award for Achievement in Adaptive Rowing in United States of America. (usrowing.org, 10 Oct 2012)

    She received the Metro Disability Coalition Spotlight Award in 2002 and 2007. (teamusa.org, 01 Jun 2017)
    Other sports She has competed at the Paralympic Games in rowing, road cycling, cross-country skiing and biathlon. She participated in road cycling at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, and competed in biathlon and cross-country skiing at the Paralympic Winter Games in 2014 and 2018. She also won a bronze medal in rowing at the 2012 Games in London. (Facebook page, 07 Sep 2017; paralympic.org, 2017)
    Milestones She became the first athlete representing the United States of America to win a gold medal in Para biathlon at the world championships when she placed first in the 6km sprint at the 2017 edition in Finsterau, Germany. (SportsDeskOnline, 05 Dec 2018; skitrax.com, 12 Feb 2017)
    Ambitions To compete in cycling at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (paralympic.org, 11 Feb 2019)
    Impairment She was born with tibial hemimelia, which meant her legs were different lengths and did not have shinbones. She also had five webbed fingers without a thumb, six toes on each foot and only one kidney. Both of her legs were amputated above the knee, one at age nine and the other at age 14. (uoflphysicians.com, 06 Mar 2014; espn.go.com, 11 Jul 2012)
    She was born in Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine, located just a few hours from Chernobyl, Ukraine, the scene of a nuclear accident in 1986. Her birth mother's exposure to radiation from living nearby is believed to be a major factor in Masters' impairment. She was abandoned at an orphanage after she was born, but was adopted by Gay Masters at age seven and taken to the United States of America. "Where I was from, they had radiation leaks. A cop [policeman] in my village would go around and say, 'Lock up,' and you boarded your windows and doors and didn't come out for a day or two to let the radiation die down. I was in a very poor orphanage so there wasn't much food. There was never enough to satisfy the hunger. I don't remember much because many memories are blocked out. I always knew that I would have a mother, I just had to wait." (uatoday.tv, 30 Oct 2015; uoflphysicians.com, 06 Mar 2014; espn.go.com, 11 Jul 2012)

    The biographies are regularly updated and new biographies of other Paralympic sports will be added frequently. If you find any mistake in a biography, please contact Rafael Maranhao, IPC Public Relations Senior Manager, at rafael.maranhao@paralympic.org.

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