PYEONGCHANG, South KoreaThe day felt nostalgic as the Traditional Korean Dancers, the “Samulnori” invited the crowds to joyfully welcome the athletes as they entered the last Cross Country race of the Games. Crowds were cheerful and in force and despite the gusty winds they embraced the venue and enjoyed the performances throughout the entire time.

On the final day of competition in Pyeongchang 2018 two races took place at the Alpensia Biathlon Center: The relays, these races are usually the athletes’ favorite event because the focus is not individual but on a team supportive effort, they are relaxed, filled with emotion and adrenaline as the competitions come to an end.

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(From R) US team Andrew Soule, Mia Zutter, Kristina Trygstad-Saari, Grace Miller and Sean Halsted pose after the Cross Country Skiing 4×2.5km Open Relay at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre. PHOTO CREDIT: Ken King

Though, it wasn’t the time for the U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Team, who at the end, and in spite of great results, finished in 7th- and 12th-place respectively in the 4×2.5-kilometer mixed and open relays, World champions, France took the the gold in the open relay, the silver went to the Norwegian team and the Canadians clinched the bronze.

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Grace Miller competes in the Open Relay on Sunday March 18th, 2018.  PHOTO CREDIT: Ken King

And even though, the Ukrainians were penalized in the open relay missing the bronze spot they claimed gold in the mixed race followed by Germany in second place and Japan taking the last place in the podium.

Overall, The American Nordic team concludes the Paralympic Winter Games with a total of 16 medals, six gold, seven silver and three bronze. Of those 16 medals, nine were secured in cross-country races, and seven were from biathlon events.

At the Jeongseon Alpine Centre they saved the best for last. Women’s Slalom racing tested the agility of the top para women skiers today. In the Visually Impaired category Staci Manella and Danelle Umstead finished in 10th and 11th positions after run 1. In the final second run Danelle and husband Rob Umstead unfortunately were disqualified and Staci Manella and guide Sadie de Baun came in 9th. Slovakia’s Henrieta Farkasova reigned supreme with another Gold, her 5th gold in PyeongChang. The Brits Menna Fitzpatrick and Millie Knight took home silver and Bronze.

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Laurie Stephens USA competes in the Alpine Skiing Sitting Women’s Slalom at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. The Paralympic Winter Games, PyeongChang, South Korea, Sunday 18th March 2018.PHOTO CREDIT: Simon Bruty for OIS/IOC.

In the women’s standing category after Run 1 Marie Bochet finished in the top position. Melanie Schwartz came in 12th. Regrettably Ally Kunkel got disqualified and Stephanie Jallen did not finish. After the final second run Melanie Schwartz finished in 11th position and Marie Bochet won Gold for France. Slalom for the sitting category after run 1 saw Laurie Stephens in the 8th spot and after run 2 she closely missed the podium and finished in the 5th spot. It was an action packed day for the Slalom runs for the Ladies out in PyeongChang.  Overall Team USA won 6 medals in Alpine skimming at the PyeongChang Paralympic Games.

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Danelle Umstead USA with her guide Rob Umstead competing in the Alpine Skiing Visually Impaired Women’s Slalom at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre. The Paralympic Winter Games, PyeongChang, South Korea, Sunday 18th March 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: Simon Bruty for OIS/IOC.

 

America, this is a public notice: when Declan Farmer turns 21 on November 5, 2018, please buy him a round of beer. Lots of them. #16 For the United States Sled Hockey team is being called the best in the game after two remarkable goals to get the comeback victory and the goal medal for Team USA. They defeated the Canadians 2-1 in a tight one. After Steve Cash had his first goal scored on him since Sochi 2014, in Paralympic play, it was Farmer, the Princeton University Student who took Canada to school scoring with 37.8 seconds to tie the game and send it into overtime, he got extra credit in overtime netting the game winner from team Captain Josh Pauls.

When asking about Framer, Pauls said, “He’s the best in the game and it’s his time right now.”

The team held signs that said, “JS”, in reference to their late coach Jeff Sauer, who they dedicated this gold medal run.

 

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