2022 Winter Paralympics: Five women to watch

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics are 100 days away. Ahead of the Opening Ceremony on March 4, 2022, here are five women to know.

Oksana Masters (Cross-country skiing, biathlon)

Earlier this year at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, Oksana Masters claimed two gold medals in cycling – despite undergoing surgery to remove a tumor with 100 days until the Games. She left Tokyo – her fifth Paralympic appearance – with 10 career Paralympic medals across four sports.

But Masters didn’t have much time for rest. Just hours after her last race in Tokyo, she was already changing her workouts, preparing her body for the transition from cycling to skiing. She won five medals in cross-country skiing and biathlon at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympics, and could contend for a similar haul in Beijing.

Kendall Gretsch (Cross-country skiing, biathlon)

Masters isn’t the only athlete pulling double duty for Team USA.

At the Tokyo Paralympics, Kendall Gretsch won triathlon gold in a thrilling, sprint-from-behind finish. While triathlon made its Paralympic debut in 2016, the Tokyo Games marked the first time Gretsch’s classification (PTWC2) was contested.

American Kendall Gretsch crosses the finish line just ahead of Australian Lauren Parker to win gold in the Paralympic debut of the women's triathlon PTWC2 at the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics. 
American Kendall Gretsch (right) crosses the finish line just ahead of Australian Lauren Parker (left) to win gold in the Paralympic debut of the women’s triathlon PTWC2 at the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics. (Getty Images)

Without the opportunity to compete at the Paralympics in 2016, Gretsch instead turned her attention to biathlon and cross-country skiing events. The Illinois native made her Paralympic debut at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, where she became the first American athlete to win biathlon gold at either the Paralympics or Olympics.

Lisa Bunschoten (snowboarding)

At the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics, Dutch snowboarder Lisa Bunschoten claimed two medals: silver in snowboard cross and bronze in banked slalom.. She went on to win world titles in both events in 2019 and then claimed the overall World Cup title in 2020.

Ahead of the 2022 Winter Paralympics, the IPC dropped four of the six women’s snowboarding events because they did not meet the minimum viability requirements for inclusion. Bunschoten competes in the two remaining events, both contested by athletes in the LL2 classification.

ALSO FROM ON HER TURF: Separate and unequal? These Paralympians want to compete alongside Olympians

Bunschoten is looking to help fix that issue by inspiring the next generation of adaptive snowboarders. In 2019, she co-founded Adaptive Board Chicks with teammate Renske van Beek.

Laurie Stephens (alpine skiing)

Alpine skier Laurie Stephens is aiming to make her fifth Paralympic appearance in Beijing. The seven-time Paralympic medalist has continued to build upon a career of strong results, winning three medals in four races at a World Cup stop in February 2021.

U.S. alpine skier Laurie Stephens competes in the women's downhill (sitting classification) at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
U.S. alpine skier Laurie Stephens competes in the women’s downhill (sitting classification) at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Lena Schroeder (sled hockey)

At the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympics, Norway’s Lena Schroeder became the first woman to compete in sled hockey in 24 years. While sled hockey is technically a mixed-gender sport (teams are allowed to have a max of 18 players instead of 17 if a woman is on the roster), Norway is the only country to ever include a woman on its roster (Brit Mjaasund Oeyen in 1994, Schroeder in 2018).

Away from the ice, Schroeder – who graduated from medical school after PyeongChang – has spent much of the last 18 months as a frontline doctor treating Covid-19 patients.

READ MORE: Team USA’s outlook for the 2022 Winter Paralympics

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC

More from On Her Turf

Sam Mewis traded to Kansas City ahead of NWSL expansion draft Weekend Recap: Shiffrin ties World Cup record, Formiga concludes career with... 2021 NWSL Timeline: Five male coaches ousted due to misconduct, abuse allegations

2022 Winter Paralympics: Five women to watch originally appeared on NBCSports.com