Oksana Masters wins gold in the H4-5 time trial to clinch ninth Paralympic medal

Team USA star tops podium in her fifth Paralympic Games; athlete medals in her fourth sport spanning both Winter and Summer Games.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Oskana Masters put on an incredible display to win the H4-5 time trial at Tokyo 2020 and clinch her ninth Paralympic medal.

The 32-year-old was out for redemption following her fifth-placed finish at Rio 2016 and led from the 16km mark to clock 45:40.05 ahead of People’s Republic of China’s SUN Bianbian (47:26.53) and the Netherlands’ Jennette Jansen on 48:45.69.

Rio 2016 gold medalist Andrea Eskau of Germany came fifth.

"I just can’t believe this," Masters said after her win. "The field here’s incredible. The women here are so tough.

"The day after I crossed the finish line in Rio 2016 in fifth place... I knew exactly what I wish I did. I knew what I did wrong and I wanted to fix it.

"To know that I fixed my wrongs from Rio and that I’m growing as a cyclist. This is unbelievable."

Masters’ victory is even sweeter as her road to Tokyo was almost derailed by surgery on one of her legs with just 100 days to go before the start of the Games.

The Paralympian revealed that she underwent the unexpected procedure in June, which meant she was only able to return to her bike just a day before she was due to compete in the U.S. trials.

"I was just trying to hold on and fight for third place," she added. "I never in a million years thought I would be fighting for a gold medal at all. At Tokyo 2020. In cycling."

I was such a baby in this sport, I had no idea what to do.

I didn’t even have a time trial helmet or anything.

Multi-sport powerhouse

Masters hit the headlines at London 2012 after winning her country’s first ever medal, bronze, in rowing’s trunk and arms mixed double sculls alongside partner Rob Jones.

A persistent back injury led to her switching to hand-cycling events, but after finishing fourth in the road race and fifth in the time trial at Rio 2016, the versatile athlete focused her attention to Winter sports where she clinched a further seven medals: five (including two golds) in para cross country and two in para biathlon.

Her eagerly-anticipated return to cycling at Tokyo 2020 comes just six months before Beijing 2022 where she aims to compete at her third Winter Games.

"Right now I’m just focusing on the time trial," said Masters. "Tomorrow [Wednesday 1 September] I have the road race and then six months later I will have Beijing.

"But right now I’m just so lucky to be here lining up on the start line here in Tokyo."