Paralympic Winter Games
04 - 13 March

Sport Week: Ones to watch for Para Cross-Country skiing

Champions and hopefuls - here are the Para Cross-Country skiers to keep an eye on 08 Feb 2022 By Lucy Dominy | For the IPC

With a variety of skiing styles and distances to master, Para Cross-Country Skiing is the ultimate test of endurance.

Check out some of the athletes who have shown they have what it takes to go the distance.

Carina Edlinger (AUS)

A quadruple world champion from the women’s vision impaired category, Carina Edlinger has firmly established herself as one of the skiers to beat.

Having won two golds on her Worlds debut in 2017, Edlinger went on to reach the Paralympics at PyeongChang 2018. Her podium plans were dashed in most events, but she picked-up one bronze instead.

Now more experienced, Edlinger and her guide Daniel Bauer have every chance to reach the top of the podium on their second attempt.

Ⓒ Canadian Paralympic Committee

Oksana Masters (USA)

Incredibly at Beijing 2022 Oksana Masters will compete at her sixth Paralympic Games in a decade.
Originally a rower, Masters claimed bronze at London 2012. A back injury forced her into retirement but she soon returned to sport, taking up hand-cycling, biathlon and cross-country skiing.

At Sochi 2014 she secured two medals in cross-country skiing, two years before competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. At Pyeongchang 2018 she improved on her performance from four years prior to bag double gold. Then at Tokyo 2020, she grabbed two cycling titles in the road race H5 and time-trial H4-5.

At the World Championships level, Masters is also a seven-time world champion in cross-country.

Ⓒ Getty Images

Brian McKeever (CAN)

Brian McKeever is the most decorated male Paralympic Cross-Country skier of all-time.

Debuting at Salt Lake City 2002, McKeever has won 13 golds across five editions. In fact, McKeever has only finished off the Paralympic podium once in his illustrious career, and that was in a team relay. Every single other performance has delivered Canada another McKeever medal.

Also a winner of dozens of world titles, McKeever expects to retire after Beijing 2022. But for one last time at least, we will all get to enjoy the Canadian marvel compete with guides Graham Nishikawa and Russell Kennedy.

Ⓒ Getty Images

Zebastian Modin (SWE)

Zebastian Modin is in the hunt for a fourth medal from a fourth straight Paralympics in Beijing – but a gold has so far eluded him.

Having started out at Vancouver 2010 as the youngest athlete at the Games – and taking a bronze – Modin has maintained his podium potential. In 2017, he won his first world title in the sprint vision impaired, successfully defending it two years later.

His best performance at a Paralympics came at Sochi 2014 where he left with two silvers and a bronze. At PyeongChang 2018 he landed on the top three once again with one silver.

Alongside guide Robyn Bryntesson, Modin will be hopeful of a long awaited gold.

Ⓒ Getty Images

Natalie Wilkie (CAN)

Natalie Wilkie burst onto the top of the podium at PyeongChang 2018, claiming gold in the women’s standing just one year after taking up Para Cross-Country Skiing.

The then 17-year-old also grabbed bronze and silver, proving herself to be an inspired addition to the Canadian team.

An avid cross-country skier before a woodworking accident at school left her without four fingers, Wilkie had to learn to ski with one pole. 

At 21, she will is one of her country's strongest medal hopes ahead of the 2022 Winter Paralympics.

Ⓒ Getty Images

Vilde Nilsen (NOR)

Disrupting the dominance of Ukrainian and Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) skiers in the women’s standing, Nilsen is the reigning world champion in two separate events.

Mastering most of the distances, there is not much the 21-year-old cannot do.

Her Paralympic debut in 2018 also saw her win one silver.

Ⓒ Samuel Andersen/Lillehammer 2021