Masters targets medal in third sport at Rio 2016

After Paralympic medal success in rowing and cross-country skiing in recent years, Oksana Masters will now aim to qualify for Rio 2016 as a handcyclist. 27 Feb 2015
Oksana Masters

Oksana Masters walks the red carpet during the U.S. Olympic Committee's Best of U.S. Awards at Warner Theatre on April 2, 2014 in Washington, DC.

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By Fran Brown | For the IPC

After winning medals in rowing and cross-country skiing at the last two Paralympic Games, the USA’s Oksana Masters is now targeting a medal in a third different sport at her third Games in a row.

Masters, 25, made her Paralympic debut at London 2012, winning bronze in the (TA) mixed double sculls before successfully transitioning from summer sport to winter sport.

Last year, competing in cross-country sit-ski events she won silver in the 15km and bronze in the 5km races at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in what she described as an “incredibly unexpected successful and exhilarating year.”

The run up to 2014 was her first experience of winter sport and Masters remarked that; “it became a year of growth, starting over and relighting the fire within myself as an athlete.”

Masters is currently experiencing another successful winter season having won a sliver and bronze medal at January’s IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships, in Cable, USA.

A back injury however has led the Ukrainian born athlete to change summer sports this year to handcycling and she will now aim to qualify for Rio 2016, her third Paralympic Games in a third different sport.

Masters puts her recent success down to the fact that her training regimes for both rowing and Nordic Skiing complimented each other.

“Training during the summer for rowing gave me that quick explosiveness and endurance that is required for skiing,” she explained.

“Strength and endurance are built on the “off season” of skiing through the rowing season.

“It also keeps my mind fresh and I don't get burnt out on each sport when it is their respective “off season”.

With handcyling her focus this summer, Masters is confident her current training formula for winter sport will benefit her new sport.

Currently training twice a day, supplementing her time on the snow with up to three lifting sessions in the gym to build strength, Masters believes her time on the handcycle, training at higher effort levels, this summer will be similar to her time on the snow. She readily admits her focus will be on long distance endurance and developing the explosive power that she has become world renowned for.

Before she makes the switch to a new summer sport however, Masters will line-up at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals in Surnadal, Norway, which take place from 16-22 March.

It will be then full steam ahead with handcycling, and judging by how quickly she picked up Nordic skiing, few would doubt that she will make a success of her new summer sport.