a female Para Nordic skier in the snow

Kendall Gretsch

Nordic Skiing

Having only taken up Nordic skiing in 2016, Kendall Gretsch won two golds in women’s biathlon sprint and cross-country long distance sitting at her maiden Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018.

She also became the first female athlete representing the USA to win a gold medal in biathlon.

“Going into the Games I was just hoping to maybe win a medal, so to win two golds was incredible. I still feel pretty new to the sport so I'm trying to take all races as learning experiences. There's a lot you can learn by practising and training but on some level, you just have to get into races and do them to get better."

Gretsch works as technical support for a company that provides health care software to hospitals and other medical facilities.


Impairment information

Origin of Impairment

Further personal information

Athlete, Engineer
Higher education
Biomedical Science - Washington University in St. Louis: United States

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up Para triathlon at university.
Why this sport?
"I got my start in Para triathlon after my sophomore year of college. I stopped doing sports when I went to college. I swam all through high school and then I took a little break from exercising at all. I wanted to get back to sports. I went to a swim practice, and the person that was leading the swim practice said, 'Hey, we have track practice after this'. At that point, I had not done any adaptive sport, just swam with my high school team, so I didn't know that much about it. She then said, 'You can come race in your wheelchair, we started a Para triathlon club and we have practice on these days'. This was the Dare2tri Para triathlon club based out of Chicago, and that's how I got started in the sport."
Name of coach
Derick Williamson [national], USA
Training Regime
She trains at the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, United States of America.

General interest

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 teammates. (Athlete, 29 Mar 2018)
Hero / Idol
US Para cross-country skier and rower Oksana Masters. (Athlete, 29 Mar 2018)
Awards and honours
In 2015 and 2018 she was shortlisted in the Best Female Athlete with Disability category at the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly [ESPY] Awards in the United States of America. (, 11 Sep 2018;, 22 Jun 2018)

She was named the 2014 Female Para Triathlete of the Year by USA Triathlon. (, 11 Sep 2018)
Other sports
She represented the United States of America in both biathlon and cross-country skiing at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, claiming gold in both sports. (SportsDeskOnline, 07 Jan 2019;, 25 Jun 2017;, 03 Mar 2015)
She became the first female athlete representing the United States of America to win a gold medal in biathlon at the Paralympic Winter Games by claiming victory in the 6km sitting event at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang. (SportsDeskOnline, 05 Dec 2018;, 10 Mar 2018)
To win a medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, and to compete at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (, 09 Jul 2021)
She was born with spina bifida. (, 20 Nov 2015)
Other information
She started looking for a new sport after discovering that her triathlon category would not be part of the programme at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She took up Para Nordic skiing during the 2015/16 season, and went on to win gold in both biathlon and cross-country skiing at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. "I wanted to find another sport where I would have the chance to go to the Paralympics. I think this one [skiing] has been the tougher sport for me to pick up. I think triathlon came a little bit more naturally to me. It's a tough sport and I loved it just being outside and being able to ski. I think that's one thing that I like between the two sports is that you are travelling around the world and you get to race in beautiful venues. When I got the news that Tokyo [2020] would be postponed, and Tokyo and the Beijing 2022 Winter Games would be extremely close together - six months apart - that was terrifying. In my mind, I was going to have a much different lead-up to Beijing, but now looking back, it is comforting. Transitioning between two seasons has been something I have done for the past five years, and I know how to manage that transition well with my coaches and other members of my team that I've worked with for so long." (, 09 Jul 2021;, 07 Feb 2019, 13 Jul 2018)

She had been doubtful that she would continue with triathlon after the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, but said in July 2021 that she is enjoying the sport so much that she intends to keep it up following the 2020 Games. "I was not so sure where I was going to be with triathlon after Tokyo. I think at this point, I still love the training so much and can't see myself stopping after Tokyo. The plan is to keep training and competing in triathlon while I still love it. If that ever changes, then maybe it's a decision of not continuing. I do not want to commit myself to saying I am going to Paris 2024 or any specific year - but as long as I am loving the training and racing, I will keep going." (, 09 Jul 2021)

She has worked as a technical support agent for a company that provides healthcare software to hospitals and other medical facilities. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2020;, 24 Aug 2018)


Unit Date Rank
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 6km Sitting Final 2018-03-10 1
Women's 12km Sitting Final 2018-03-11 1
Women's 10km Sitting Final 2018-03-13 4
Women's 1.1km Sprint Sitting Final 2018-03-14 7
Women's 12.5km Sitting Final 2018-03-16 8
Women's 5km Sitting Final 2018-03-17 6
4x2.5km Mixed Relay Final 2018-03-18 7
Prince George 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships (Prince George, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Middle Distance Sitting Final 2019-02-16 2
Women's Middle Distance - Free Style Sitting Final 2019-02-17 2
Women's Sprint - Free Style Sitting Final 2019-02-18 3
Women's Sprint Sitting Final 2019-02-20 2
Women's Long Distance Sitting Final 2019-02-21 1
Women's Long Distance - Classic Sitting Final 2019-02-24 2