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American Oksana Masters with her Tokyo Paralympic Games women's H4-5 hand-cycle time trial gold medal in Japan on Tuesday. Photo: Team USA/Twitter

American Oksana Masters won gold in the women’s time trial H4-5 hand-cycling event at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Tuesday.

Why it matters: She's the fourth U.S. woman, and sixth American overall, to win gold medals at the summer and winter Paralympics.

  • The 32-year-old Ukraine-born athlete won eight Paralympic medals across three sports at the winter Games, mostly in Nordic skiing — including three golds.

The big picture: Masters was born with a condition believed to be linked to her birth mother's exposure to radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. She was left in an orphanage and had both of her legs amputated above the knee as a child.

  • Masters began rowing at age 14, after being adopted by an American woman. She won bronze at the London 2012 Paralympics with rowing partner Rob Jones before switching to Nordic skiing.

What she's saying: Masters said what was important wasn't winning medals, but her legacy and "helping inspire that next young girl," per ESPN.

  • "All the stuff that was ingrained in my younger self, are also the reasons why I've been able to, with the support of so many people behind me, get to where I am today," she said.

Go deeper

Sep 5, 2021 - Sports

U.S. beats China for Paralympics gold in women's sitting volleyball

Team USA's Alexis Shifflett serves the ball during the Tokyo Paralympic Games women's sitting volleyball pool match against Rwanda in Chiba, Japan, on Aug. 28. Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images

Team USA won gold in the Tokyo Paralympic Games women's sitting volleyball final on Sunday morning local time.

The big picture: The defending champions beat China 3-1 in the final. After the event was added to the Paralympics in 2004, China won the first three golds. The Americans' win took the U.S. Paralympic medals tally to 103, including 36 golds.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of China's previous wins in the event.

Sep 5, 2021 - Sports

In photos: Tokyo Paralympics closing ceremony

The Paralympic Flame is seen during the closing ceremony on Day 12 of the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Photo: Koki Nagahama/Getty Images

More than a year after they were supposed to begin, the Tokyo Paralympic Games drew to an end with a closing ceremony on Sunday, with five-time Paralympian Matt Scott serving as the U.S. flagbearer for the event.

Why it matters: The Games, which began in Japan amid COVID state of emergency, closed Sunday in front of a largely empty Olympic Stadium.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.