Nordic Skier Sydney Peterson Added To U.S. Paralympic Team After Second International Competition
by Alex Abrams
Sydney Peterson wins bronze in the women's 15-kilometer standing cross-country race during the World Para Snow Sports Championships on Jan. 18, 2022 in Lillehammer, Norway.
U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing received good news on Friday, three weeks before the start of the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
Standing skier Sydney Peterson was added to the U.S. Nordic skiing team after she received an invitation to compete in Beijing by World Para Nordic Skiing and the International Paralympic Committee.
Peterson, a 19-year-old sophomore on the St. Lawrence University Nordic skiing team, will make her Paralympic debut in Beijing. She’ll give Team USA a total of 15 Nordic athletes who’ll compete at the Winter Games.
Peterson earned two silver medals and a bronze at last month’s World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway. However, her spot in Beijing remained uncertain while WPNS and the IPC reviewed her case over the past few weeks.
Peterson, a Lake Elmo, Minnesota, native, is new to adaptive sports. She raced in only one world cup event this season before traveling to Lillehammer for the world championships.
Since Peterson hasn’t held a WPNS license long enough to qualify for the Games, she had to get approval through the Bipartite Commission Invitation Allocation to earn a spot at the Winter Paralympics.
“I am so thrilled to be able to announce that our team is finally complete,” said Eileen Carey, director of U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “We knew Sydney had the strongest possible application for a Bipartite invitation, and we are so excited to have that validated today.
“She added so much to our team at world championships in Lillehammer and will be an integral part of our team in Beijing.”
Peterson had a strong showing in the cross-country skiing events at the world championships despite it only being her second international competition.
She earned a silver medal in the women’s standing 10-kilometer race on Jan. 13. Nine days later, she captured her second silver in the sprint. She also earned a bronze in the long-distance race.
“I didn’t really know what to expect coming into world championships,” Peterson told U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “I just wanted to gain experience, but it’s been a lot of fun.”
Peterson’s late addition bolsters a U.S. Para Nordic skiing team that’s expected to compete for several medals in Beijing. It’s led by gold medalists Oksana Masters, Kendall Gretsch and Dan Cnossen.
U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing recently named the 14 other members of the team, which includes 13 athletes and guide Sam Wood, who races with visually impaired skier Jake Adicoff.
Team USA will begin competing in Para Nordic skiing races on March 5.
Alex Abrams has written about Olympic sports for more than 15 years, including as a reporter for major newspapers in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.