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Jake Adicoff Finishes Golden while Jesse Keefe Skis to Top 10 Finish
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Sam Wood, Oksana Masters, Sydney Peterson, Jake Adicoff and Dan Cnossen show off their gold medals.
 
 
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Monday, March 14, 2022
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTOS BY REIS courtesy of U.S. Olympic Paralympic Committee

Jake Adicoff finally got Paralympic gold on Sunday--the last day of competition in the nine-day 2022 Winter Paralympics.

Adicoff took gold in the mixed-gender 4x2.5-kilometer cross-country skiing relay, erasing a 30-second deficit in the first kilometer of the last leg and taking his team from fourth place to first as his parents Sam Adicoff and Sue Conner cheered him on at a watch party in Ketchum. His ski buddy and guide Sam Wood hung back to let Adicoff cross the finish line first.

 
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TEAM USA was quick to grab a U.S. flag as they celebrated victory at the finish line.
 

It was TEAM USA’s first-ever mixed relay gold and the 25-minute 59-second finish closed out the cross-country competition in Beijing.

China took silver at 26 minutes and 25 seconds and Canada, bronze at 27 minutes, with the defending Paralympic and world champions Ukraine finishing fourth.

You can see the race at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_noNDOAUeg

Adicoff made up the vision-impaired leg of the relay. Sydney Peterson, a Minnesota skier who developed mobility issues in her left arm and leg at 13, also raced stand up. Two sit-skiers--Dan Cnossen, a retired Navy SEAL, and Ukrainian-born Oksana Masters completed the team.

 
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Oksana Masters, Sydney Peterson, Dan Cnossen, Jake Adicoff and Sam Wood got to hear the “Star Spangled Banner” play, thanks to their hard-fought victory.
 

Masters raced a strong first leg to keep TEAM USA in contention, and Adicoff and Wood turned up the heat on the final lap, rocketing into first place and never looking back.

“We started that so hot, “Adicoff said. “We were just really gas in the beginning, no holding back in the first part. By the time we were at the top of the course, we skied into the lead. From there, we just had to stay on our feet and bring it home. Getting that energy from our teammates for that first part of the race was critical.” 

“I couldn't be more proud to be part of this team,” said Cnossen, who has trained in Sun Valley. “When you're part of a team and you know your teammates are counting on you for every second, that's a special feeling. It really just motivated me out there on the course to dig as deep as I possibly could to try to set Jake up for success at the end, and he clearly followed through on that.”
A second U.S. team that included Sun Valley’s Simi Hamilton, who was guiding Max Nelson, the youngest skier on the U.S. Para Nordic Team, placed ninth in the relay.

Masters, who was adopted by New York mother as a youngster, kicked off the United States’ medal count with a gold in biathlon. She went on to break two U.S. Paralympic records during these games, racking up 14 career Winter Paralympic medals and earning seven medals at a single Winter Games.

 
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Jake Adicoff flashed a grin as big as you’ll ever see on the Sun Valley skier as he took his team from fourth place to first.
 

Masters also won two cycling golds and one rowing bronze during the 2022 Summer Olympics.

Adicoff, a Wood River High School graduate who grew up racing in the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, was working as a software engineer in San Francisco when the pandemic hit. He moved home to his parents’ house in Elkhorn as the country shut down.

He decided to come out of retirement to train for a third Paralympics at the encouragement of his ski buddy Sam Wood. Wood served as his guide during the Paralympics, skiing just in front of Adicoff giving him a beacon to guide him down the tracks.

The decision to un-retire proved fruitful as Adicoff won two silver medals in long-distance classic races, in addition to the relay gold. Earlier, he won silver in the 10K classic race at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.

 
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Sun Valley’s Simi Hamilton, second from left, leads young Max Nelson in the mixed-gender relay.
 

JESSE KEEFE HAS TOP 10 FINISH

Sun Valley’s other Paralympian Jesse Keefe, who had his foot amputated at 11 months, placed in the top 10 in slalom at his first Paralympic games. The 17-year-old—the youngest member of Team USA--finished 9th in slalom, 15th in super combined and giant slalom and 22nd in downhill.

Like Adicoff, Keefe grew up skiing with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.

The United States finished fourth in the medal count at the Paralympic Games with four gold medals, eight silver and two bronze medals.

Ukraine athletes, who had an arduous journey to get to Beijing, ended up winning the second most medals after China with 10 gold medals in biathlon and cross-country skiing and 28 podium finishes overall.

 

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