Winter Paralympics preview: Para cross-country skiing day three

Exciting sprint event awaits at the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre with six gold medals up for grabs 08 Mar 2022
A woman in a cross-country race with goggles on her head during a sunny day. Trees are in the background with the clear and blue sky.
Norway's Vilde Nilsen is looking to improve on her silver medal won four years ago at the PyeongChang 2018 in the sprint event.
ⒸChung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
By Aurore Gander | For World Para Snow Sports

The men's and women's sprint events mark the return of Para cross-country skiing action to the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre on Wednesday (9 March).

It is day five of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games and here is all you need to know!


USA’s Oksana Masters already picked one gold and two silver medals in China, but her only triumph came in the women's Para biathlon sprint sitting event on Saturday (5 March).

China's Hongqiong Yang beat Masters to take gold in the long-distance and will be again in the race on Wednesday. But the USA athlete is the defending Paralympic champion and has three back-to-back World Championships title in the event. 

Her compatriot Kendall Gretsch will also be among the medal contenders alongside Germany's Anja Wicker and Norway's Birgit Skarstein.

Italy's Giuseppe Romele and Ukraine's Taras Rad are likely to face stiff competition from an athlete coming from a very unusual country. Brazil's Cristian Ribera is the Lillehammer 2021 World Championships silver medallist and will be hoping to become the first Latin American Para athlete to take a Paralympic Winter Games medal.

The 19-year-old sensation was the youngest athlete at PyeongChang 2018 and surprised the world with a top 6 finish. 

Gold medallist in the long-distance event, China's Peng Zhen will also be aiming a second medal at home.



Norway’s Vilde Nilsen recently made her country proud at the Lillehammer 2021 Worlds by winning the gold medal in the women's sprint event. The 21-year-old won silver four years ago in PyeongChang in her first Winter Paralympics. This time, Nilsen is arriving to Beijing as the clear favourite for gold.

Canada’s Natalie Wilkie and USA's Sydney Peterson are the other two young athletes aiming for the podium in Beijing. Wilkie won bronze at the PyeongChang 2018, while Peterson climbed onto the second step of the podium at the Lillehammer 2021 Worlds. Beijing 2022 will be the first Paralympic appearance for the 20-year-old.

Ukraine’s Liudmyla Liashenko won seven medals at the Lillehammer 2021 and is coming to Beijing in fine form. She took the bronze medal in sprint and will try to improve on her fifth-place finish from the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympics.

Japan's Taiki Kawayoke picked his first-ever Paralympic medal with the victory in the long-distance on Monday followed by China's Jiayun Cai (silver) and Mingyang Qiu (bronze).

In order to return to the podium in the men's sprint standing, the trio will have to beat names such as Ukraine's Grygorii Vovchynskyi and Germany's Marco Maier, gold and silver in the biathlon sprint.


Experienced Oksana Shyshkova from Ukraine is making her fourth Paralympic Winter Games appearance. After two bronze medals in the sprint at the Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018, the 30-year-old will be aiming for gold in Beijing.

She already won gold in Beijing in the women's Para cross-country skiing long-distance and also triumphed in the Para biathlon sprint. 

Germany's teenage sensation Leonie Maria Walter beat Shyshkova in the Para biathlon middle-distance and has a bronze in the Para cross-country long-distance vision impaired race. Linn Kazmaier is another German medal hopeful.

Canada’s superstar Brian McKeever is in quest for his fourth-consecutive Paralympic title in the men’s VI sprint. Beijing 2022 will probably be the last of six Paralympic appearances for the 42-year-old McKeever.

The Canadian took his 18th Paralympic medal with the victory in the men's long-distance on Monday. 

USA’s Jake Adicoff is another medal contender as the silver medallist from the Lillehammer 2021. The athlete from San Jose missed out on a medal in PyeongChang finishing fourth in the sprint event.

He finished behind McKeever in the long-distance with Sweden's Zebastian Modin in third. Ukraine's Dmytro Suiarko bagged a bronze in the men's sprint in Para biathlon and is another pretender.

Live streaming and results from Beijing 2022 will be available on You can follow all the action, behind the scenes and news on World Para Snow Sports social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.