The 2022 Paralympic Winter Games will run from March 4-13, and each day, NBCOlympics.com will recap the biggest stories that happened overnight. Here's what you may have missed from the fifth day of Paralympic competition.
Masters, Peterson win medals in women's cross-country
Cross-country skiing provided the only medal events of the day, with men's and women's sprint races being held for all three classifications (sitting, standing, vision impaired).
In the women's sitting event, Chinese skier Yang Hongqiong defeated American star Oksana Masters, the defending champion, for the second time at these Games in a dramatic race to the finish line.
Because the race uses staggered start times to account for varying levels of impairment, Yang started the race with a 26-second headstart on Masters, and she needed just about every second of it. Throughout the race, which lasted under three and a half minutes, Masters steadily cut into the deficit and set herself up to make a hard charge in the final straightaway. She quickly started making up the remaining ground in that last section, and had the race been any longer, she likely would have passed Yang, but in the end Masters ran out of real estate and finished 1.7 seconds behind the winner.
Behind Yang and Masters, two more Chinese athletes competed for bronze as Li Panpan held off one of her teammates by just 0.3 seconds, making it a repeat of the podium from the long-distance race a few days ago. American Kendall Gretsch, who won gold in yesterday's biathlon event, finished in fifth place.
Masters now has her third silver medal and fourth medal overall at these Paralympic Games. It was also the seventh cross-country skiing medal of her career, which moved her into a tie for most medals won by an American at either the Olympics or Paralympics in the sport. She still has two more cross-country events — the middle-distance race and the relay — still to come that she's expected to compete in.
Also bringing home a medal for Team USA was 20-year-old Sydney Peterson, who earned bronze in the women's standing event. Peterson, a late add to the Paralympic team, now has two medals at these Games after earning silver in the long-distance race several days earlier. Canadian Natalie Wilkie won the standing sprint race for her second gold medal of these Paralympics.
The other women's event, the vision impaired sprint, was won by 23-year-old Austrian Carina Edlinger.
McKeever holds off Adicoff for 15th Paralympic gold
Canada's Brian McKeever, a cross-country skiing legend at age 42, raced a smart race to claim victory in the men's vision impaired sprint, earning the 15th Paralympic gold medal of his career and denying American Jake Adicoff the win in an exciting finish.
Only four athletes (plus their guides) were on the course for the vision impaired finals, and the first two athletes to start the race had a 21-second headstart on both McKeever and Adicoff. Once it was their turn to go, McKeever was content to fall in line behind Adicoff as they worked to close the gap on and then pass the top two. It then turned into a two-way race between Adicoff and McKeever, and McKeever patiently waited until the final turn to make his move and get into the faster lane for the homestretch. From there, McKeever powered to the finish line for a fourth consecutive gold medal in this event, while Adicoff finished less than a second behind him for silver.
McKeever, a six-time Paralympian who will be retiring after the Beijing Games, is one win away from tying the record for most Winter Paralympic gold medals by a male athlete. That could come a few days from now in the middle-distance cross-country race.
As for Adicoff, he now has his second silver medal of these Paralympics, having also finished behind McKeever in the long-distance event.
The other men's sprints were won by France's Benjamin Daviet (standing) and China's Zheng Peng (sitting).
China scores four more medals, extends medal count lead
China's Paralympic success continued with four more medals in the cross-country sprints, led by Yang Hongqiong's win in the women's sitting event and a 1-2 finish from Zheng Peng and Mao Zhongwu in the men's sitting event.
That pushes the country's table-leading totals up to 10 golds and 31 medals overall. Ukraine remains second in total medals with 19, but Canada has now surpassed them for second-most gold medals with seven.
The United States currently has just two gold medals but is tied for fourth with 13 medals overall.
U.S. wheelchair curling team refuses to quit, keeps afloat with pair of wins
The U.S. recorded two vital victories with an 8-5 win over Switzerland and an 8-7 nail biter versus Latvia.
In the first matchup, the Americans stole three in the second end to go up 4-0 before the Swiss clawed back within one. It remained tight through the middle ends, and with a tie game in the eighth, the U.S. ran Switzerland out of stones.
Against Latvia, the U.S. took charge in the fourth, executing a hit and a stay for four to go up 6-2. The Latvians came back with three in the fifth to tie, but the Americans added two more in the sixth and held on in the final end to move to 4-4, keeping alive an outside chance of making the semifinals.
China improved to 6-2 with a pair of wins against Slovakia and Norway, while Sweden split, beating Norway and losing to Slovakia, to match the host nation's record at the top of the round-robin standings. Canada won twice, topping Great Britain and Estonia to achieve its fifth and sixth wins.
China stays undefeated in sled hockey, books semifinal matchup with 2018 champ USA
Two qualifying finals took place with South Korea playing Italy, a rematch of the 2018 bronze medal game, and host China facing off against the Czech Republic.
South Korea's Jang Dong Shin scored twice, lighting the lamp three and half minutes in and closing with an empty-netter in the final minutes to lead his team to a 4-0 victory, its first of the tournament. The team will take on Canada in Friday's semifinal round.
"My daughter was watching the game today," Jang said. "I did my best to win the game. I couldn’t wait to tell my daughter that I made it."
The Chinese and Czechs each found the net in the first period. Despite some sensational goalkeeping from Martin Kudela, Tian Jintao got one past him in the second to give China a 2-1 lead. The teams went back and forth in the third, but it was Wang Zhidong who scored last, sealing a 4-3 win for China.
China, unbeaten at 4-0, takes on the defending gold medalist U.S. team Friday in its first-ever sled hockey semifinal appearance.