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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
Imagen
a female Para Nordic skier in the snow

Kendall Gretsch

Nordic Skiing
2

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.

Biography

Impairment information

Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
LW11.5

Further personal information

Residence
Madison, WI, USA
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English
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 swimming and Para triathlon in 2012 in Chicago, IL, United States of America. She first tried Para Nordic skiing in 2016 at the Central Cross Country Ski Association in Madison, WI, United States of America.
Why this sport?
"It was good cross-training for Para triathlon."
Training Regime
She trains four times a week, for around two-and-a-half hours a day.

International debut

Year
2017
Competing for
United States

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 Nordic skier 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. (fasterskier.com, 11 Sep 2018; paralympic.org, 22 Jun 2018)

She was named the 2014 Female Para Triathlete of the Year by USA Triathlon. (fasterskier.com, 11 Sep 2018)
Other sports
She represented the United States of America in biathlon and cross-country skiing at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, claiming gold in both sports. She has also competed in Para triathlon, winning gold in the PT1 category at the world championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016. (SportsDeskOnline, 07 Jan 2019; wts.triathlon.org, 25 Jun 2017; tri.com, 03 Mar 2015)
Milestones
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; pyeongchang2018.com, 10 Mar 2018)
Ambitions
To compete in triathlon at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (teamusa.org, 02 Jan 2019)
Impairment
She was born with spina bifida. (triathlon.org, 20 Nov 2015)
Other information
MULTI TALENTED
She is a three-time world champion in Para triathlon, but she started looking for a new sport after discovering her 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 [Para Nordic 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." (paralympic.org, 07 Feb 2019, 13 Jul 2018)

OCCUPATION
She works as technical support for a company that provides health care software to hospitals and other medical facilities. (teamusa.org, 24 Aug 2018)

Results

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