Jake Adicoff competes in the Men’s Para Long Distance Classic Technical Visually Impaired event at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games on March 7, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.
Jake Adicoff retired from Nordic ski racing four years ago, satisfied with what he had achieved in the sport he started in sophomore year.
After competing in her second Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Adicoff was the owner of a somewhat surprising silver medal. He would soon be a graduate in mathematics and computer science from Bowdoin College. It was time.
“I left PyeongChang thinking I had just skied my last truly competitive ski race,” said Adicoff, who competes in the visually impaired rankings. “I thought I was done.”
The retreat did not last.
Around this time last year, Adicoff resumed training at his home in Sun Valley, Idaho, and on Monday he and his guide Sam Wood raced to another Paralympic silver medal. , this time in the 20-kilometer classic at the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Center in the mountains northwest of Beijing.
With family and friends in Ketchum, Idaho, Adicoff finished 3 minutes 17.7 seconds behind Canadian Brian McKeever, who won his 14th Paralympic gold and 18th overall in 55:36.7. Sweden’s Zebastian Modin finished third, just over a minute behind Adicoff.
“We’re really happy to be on the podium today,” said Adicoff, 26. “It was a very difficult race and we had to work very hard for this one.”
Adicoff’s medal was the second for Team USA in cross-country skiing at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. Shortly after, Sydney Peterson added another. The Minnesotan, who only started competing internationally in December, won her own silver medal in the classic women’s 15-kilometre standing race.
Peterson, 20, of Lake Elmo, Minnesota, was solid throughout her Paralympic debut to finish in 44:38.6, 52.4 seconds behind winner Natalie Wilkie of Canada. Her compatriot Brittany Hudak clinched the bronze medal, crossing the line 19 seconds behind Peterson. Grace Miller of Team USA, competing at her second Paralympic Games, finished ninth.
“I didn’t really expect to be here and it all happened really quickly,” Peterson said, “so it’s kind of surreal to be here.”
As recently as last year, the very idea of competing in Beijing was far from Adicoff’s mind. However, after finding himself on his skis throughout the pandemic, he secured an invitation to a national team camp in February 2021.
Even then, he was unsure whether to make an official comeback.
“I didn’t want to go to Beijing for the ride,” he said.
He would only enter if he was convinced he could be good enough to win a medal. On Monday, he did just that, and arguably his weakest event.
After making his Paralympic debut in 2014, Adicoff returned in 2018, winning a silver medal in the 10 kilometer classic race.
This middle distance race again proved to be his best event at the world championships two months ago in Lillehammer, Norway, with Adicoff prevailing to claim his first world title. He also won a silver medal in the sprint and a bronze in the distance.