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Paralympic athletes competing in Beijing cheered on by Bozeman-based team

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Posted at 6:06 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 20:06:13-05

BOZEMAN — The Crosscut Mountain Sports Center community gathered at the Rocking R Bar for an informal watch party to cheer on over ten Paralympic athletes competing in Beijing.

Eyes were locked to the screen as Oksana Masters and Kendall Gretsch entered into the final stretch of the biathlon, earning both the gold and silver in the Women’s Middle Distance Sitting Para Biathlon.

“Think about how difficult these sports, nordic skiing, and in biathlon,” Jason Smith, Chief Philanthropy Officer for Crosscut Mountain Sports Center says, “This is an organization that is first and foremost about the community.”

Crosscut Mountain Sports Center is home-base for the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Ski Team, where athletes like Masters and Gretsch practice and train. Masters and Gretsch have competed together for some time, usually going back and forth between victories, Stuart Jennings said.

Jennings is a board member for Crosscut Mountain Sports Center and used to be a biathlete himself. He recalls the process of loading up skis and rifles for competition and stresses the resilience and determination to do all of this while packing a wheelchair and mono ski.

“In your life you have to learn to adapt to challenges,” Jennings said, “Really, no one ever has a perfect race."

Crosscut CEO Jen Beaston notes the tenacity among the athletes and shares the story of Oksana Masters.

Masters was born in Ukraine, in the shadow the Chernobyl plant which resulted in a variety of health issues and complications, Beaston said. She was adopted and brought to America when she was seven years old.

“She was just born this way, never looking at a challenge that she couldn’t overcome and that if she wanted to be able to do something she’d put her mind to it and figure out a way,” Beaston said.

The Crosscut team is proud of the accomplishments of their para-athletes and is eager to welcome the team back.