Kendall Gretsch Uses Perfect Shooting To Win Biathlon Gold At World Championships
by Alex Abrams
Kendall Gretsch wins gold in the women's sitting 10-kilometer biathlon during the World Para Snow Sports Championships on Jan. 16, 2022 in Lillehammer, Norway.
Kendall Gretsch decided to take it easy Saturday and skip the women’s sitting biathlon sprint race at the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway.
She appeared refreshed when she returned to the snow Sunday.
Gretsch took advantage of her perfect shooting and cruised to her second gold medal at the world championships with an easy win in the women’s biathlon middle-distance sitting race.
She took the lead 4 kilometers into the 10-kilometer race, and she finished in 36 minutes, 44.7 seconds to win her sixth world championship by a factored time of nearly 2.5 minutes.
Gretsch also won the women’s sitting 10-kilometer cross-country race Thursday.
“I wasn’t feeling the best yesterday, so (I) was happy to come out today and be able to race well,” Gretsch told U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. “You never know what to expect in biathlon, so it was just about bringing the same focus that we do in practice and just having that confidence in your shooting.”
Oksana Masters, meanwhile, made a strong push down the stretch to earn the bronze in 39:46.3 and add to her medal count in Lillehammer. She took the silver in the sitting biathlon sprint race Saturday.
Masters, who is trying to regain her form after testing positive for the coronavirus in late December, struggled for a second consecutive day with her shooting. She incurred penalties after missing seven shots.
It was a rough day on the range for me today. Missed 7 shots but thanks to our incredible @USParaNordic team for the fast skis which helped me ski fast & still earn🥉. Congrats to my teammate Kendall for another perfect shooting in the range and the win 🦾 https://t.co/0W7p25zvjG
— Oksana Masters (@OksanaMasters) January 16, 2022
Masters overcame her shooting woes with a strong performance during the skiing portion of the biathlon. She finished 36.7 seconds behind silver medalist Natalia Kocherova (39:09.6), who was competing for the Russian Paralympic Committee.
It was the 18th career world championships medal for Masters, who is a 10-time Paralympic medalist in Nordic skiing, cycling and rowing.
“It was a rough day on the range for me today,” Masters wrote on Twitter. “Missed 7 shots but thanks to our incredible @USParaNordic team for the fast skis which helped me ski fast & still earn (the bronze). Congrats to my teammate Kendall for another perfect shooting in the range and the win.”
In August, Gretsch and Masters joined a select group of Americans who have won a gold medal in both the Summer and Winter Paralympics.
They each won a pair of gold medals in Nordic skiing at the 2018 Winter Paralympics PyeongChang. Gretsch then won the gold in the triathlon and Masters earned two golds in cycling at this past summer’s Tokyo Paralympics.
Alex Abrams has written about Olympic and Paralympic 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.