Former Navy SEAL wins more gold with Paralympic ski relay team in Beijing

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Staff USA cross-country skiers, from left, Oksana Masters, Sydney Peterson, Dan Cnossen, Jake Adicoff and information Sam Wooden rejoice a gold medal within the combined 4×2.5km relay, Sunday, March 13, 2022, the ultimate day of the Beijing Paralympics. (Dan Cnossen)

A retired naval officer who misplaced each legs to an improvised bomb in Afghanistan took house a second Paralympic gold medal as a part of a profitable U.S. cross-country ski relay staff on Sunday.

Former Navy SEAL Dan Cnossen, 41, of Topeka, Kan., and three teammates had the quickest time within the combined 4×2.5km relay on the ultimate day of the Beijing 2022 Video games on the Zhangjiakou Nationwide Biathlon Centre.

The staff completed in 25:59.3, forward of silver medalists China and bronze winners Canada, in line with the Video games’ official web site.

A veteran with deployments to Iraq and Southeast Asia, Cnossen was injured in September 2009 after stepping on a bomb throughout a nighttime assault in Helmand province, Afghanistan, he advised Stars and Stripes by cellphone Saturday.

One in all his relay teammates, six-time Paralympian Oksana Masters, 32, of Louisville, Ky., was born in Ukraine, with each of her legs broken by in-utero radiation poisoning from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor incident, in line with her Staff USA biography.

The staff additionally consists of Sydney Peterson, 20, of Lake Elmo, Minn., whose left arm and leg are impaired, and Jake Adicoff, 26, of Solar Valley, Idaho, who has been legally blind since start, in line with Staff USA.

“For me it’s an honor to signify the U.S. on this worldwide discipline,” Cnossen mentioned.

The previous lieutenant commander spent two years in hospitals recovering from the lack of his legs however started cross-country snowboarding in West Yellowstone, Mont., throughout his rehabilitation and began coaching for the Paralympics in 2011.

He debuted on the 2014 Video games in Sochi, Russia; in 2018 he gained his first gold medal, within the 7.5 km biathlon, which includes snowboarding and goal taking pictures, in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Cross-country snowboarding and biathlon are robust sports activities, each bodily and mentally, Cnossen mentioned.

“Typically the situations are actually chilly, and the snow could be gradual,” he mentioned. “It’s all about pushing your self and particular athletes can dig a bit deeper when it counts.”

Navy SEAL coaching taught Cnossen to course of ache, he mentioned.

“For me what works greatest is to essentially drill into method and the mechanics of snowboarding,” he mentioned. “That shifts my thoughts away from the ache.”

Whereas coaching for the Video games, Cnossen discovered time to check at Harvard and work with different SEALS on psychological and bodily wellness workshops, he mentioned.

A dozen veterans from the Military, Navy and Marines competed in alpine and cross-country snowboarding, snowboard, ice hockey and curling on the Winter Video games, in line with a listing offered by Staff USA.

One other cross-country skier, Josh Sweeney, 34, of Boise, Idaho, served within the Marine Corps from 2005 to 2010 and was medically retired as a sergeant. His greatest efficiency in Beijing was sixteenth place within the long-distance occasion on a course of simply over 11 miles.

The previous scout sniper deployed with third Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment to Afghanistan and had been there for less than a month and a half when he stepped on a hidden bomb in October 2009, he mentioned by cellphone Saturday.

Throughout rehabilitation in San Antonio after shedding each legs, Sweeney began taking part in dodgeball and seated volleyball however gravitated to sled hockey and was a member of the gold-medal profitable U.S. staff at Sochi.

Cross-country snowboarding, which has a extra versatile coaching schedule and fewer occasions to journey to, is now Sweeney’s essential sport. Throughout races he sits in a chair hooked up to skis and propels himself along with his arms utilizing poles, he mentioned.

“The largest factor I missed after I used to be injured was the flexibility to go strolling within the woods,” he mentioned. “Having that skill to placed on my skis and take off and ski cross nation trails. It’s like path working for somebody in a wheelchair.”

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