1 Year Since the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022: Where Are They Now?
by Brendan Rourke
A general view during the closing ceremonies of the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March 13, 2022 in Beijing.
It has been exactly one year since the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 came to a close with a beautiful closing ceremony. Team USA has spent the past two weeks highlighting eight top moments from the games featuring several phenomenal athletes. All eight athletes returned to competition this year. However, weather was not on some of our athletes' sides for much of the season, especially for our Para Nordic squad. Luckily, this is just the first year of a new quad for the athletes, meaning they spend a lot of time dialing in their new equipment rather than focusing on the results. Even still, some of our athletes took home several pieces of hardware despite having limited opportunities. Below is a list of the eight athletes and what they have accomplished this season.
Kendall Gretsch competes in the Para Nordic World Championships on Jan. 21, 2023 in Oestersund, Sweden.
Since tacking on three medals in Beijing to her resume, dual-sport Paralympian Kendall Gretsch has had a phenomenal shortened season on the world cup circuit this season. Due to multiple cancellations because of lack of snow, the Para Nordic world cup held just two events. However, Gretsch nearly swept the top spot in all of her races and lengths. Her lone second-place finish came on Jan. 24 in Oestersund, Sweden in the freestyle cross-country sprint event. Most recently, the Illinois native took home six gold medals from the Para Nordic World Cup Final that took place in Soldier Hollow, Utah from March 1-8.
Sydney Peterson competes in the women's middle distance freestyle standing race during the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March 12, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.
Enduring the same shortened 2022-23 season as Kendall Gretsch, Sydney Peterson has continued to show that the U.S. Para Nordic ski squad is in good hands for the near future. The 21-year-old scored two third-place finishes at the world championships in Oestersund, Sweden. As of March 9, she resides in fifth place in the world cup standings in the cross-country standing division.
Thomas Walsh competes in the men's super combined event during the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March, 7 2022 in Yanqing, China.
Luckily for Thomas Walsh, the 2022-23 Para alpine ski season was less affected by lack of snow than the Para Nordic squad. After capturing a silver medal, and the U.S.' only 2022 Paralympic medal in alpine skiing, Walsh has put together another strong season. The Vail, Colorado native is in the top 10 in all Para alpine world cup standings except one. Currently, he is in third place in the Para alpine combined overall standings. He took home a season-best second place finish in the slalom event at Veysonnaz, Switzerland in early January. Additionally, Walsh had a solid world championships in Espot, Spain, taking home a bronze medal in the Super-G event and a fourth place finish in the alpine combined.
Brenna Huckaby competes in the women's banked slalom during the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March 11, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.
Since adding more history to her resume, Brenna Huckaby returned to the world cup circuit for the 2022-23 season and will be at the upcoming Para Snowboard World Championships this March. She resides in second place in the overall snowboard cross standings, and is tied for first in the banked slalom standings. The Para snowboard legend is a potent threat to take home a medal at the world championships.
Oksana Masters competes in the women's para biathlon middle-distance sitting event during the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March 8, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.
Since making history in Beijing, Oksana Masters remains on the Para Nordic world cup circuit. However, she has not competed much this season due to a nagging hand injury that required surgery. Unfortunately, Masters missed competing with her fiancé, Aaron Pike, at the Para Nordic world championships this season as well as the final in Soldier Hollow, Utah. However, she remained a constant supporter of Pike's achievements, posting often on social media about his incredible performances. Rest assured, Masters will be ready to chase more history when her hand is fully healed.
Josh Pauls controls the puck in the Para ice hockey preliminary group A match against Canada during the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March 5, 2022 in Beijing.
Josh Pauls is in his 15th season with the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and his sixth season as captain of the squad. Most recently, the squad won the 2022 Para Hockey Cup with a 5-1 victory over Canada on Dec. 3, 2022, marking their seventh consecutive title. The U.S. held a tight 1-0 through two periods before netting four straight goals in the third to put the game away. Pauls, a defenseman, notched two assists during the tournament.
Jake Adicoff celebrates with his guide, Sam Wood, after finishing his leg of the 4 x 2.5-kilometer mixed relay in the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March 13, 2022 in Beijing.
The U.S.' top Para Nordic skier in the visually impaired division has had a stellar shortened 2022-23 season for Team USA. Paced by guide Sam Wood, Jake Adicoff is in second place in the overall world cup cross-country standings and has not finished worse than second place in six consecutive races. The Idaho native has secured two gold medals this season. The first came in the sprint freestyle race at the Para Nordic World Championships in Oestersund, Sweden. The other was a gold medal in the 20-kilometer freestyle event at the Para Nordic World Cup Final in Soldier Hollow, Utah.
Brendan Rourke is a Digital Media Assistant for the USOPC. Previously, he spent three years writing for the NBA's Indiana Pacers, and is a graduate of IUPUI's Sports Capital Journalism Program.