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Athletes Gather For Paralympic Nordic Skiers Championship In Cable

Competition Continues Through Feb. 1


More than 150 athletes from 20 countries have come together in Cable, Wis., to compete in the Paralympic Nordic skiers world championships over the next week.

The event is being billed as the largest gathering of Nordic skiers since the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Wisconsin is hosting the world championships for the first time.

Volunteers picked up the last group of athletes from Mongolia at the Minneapolis airport on Thursday.

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Event transportation chief Catherine Eglehoff said the road to the championships has been filled with missed flights, lost bags and dodging northern Wisconsin critters.

“We hit the bear. We swerved for a fox and this morning, and I braked for a deer. I hope that’s the end of that,” she said.

U.S. athlete Omar Bermejo is competing in the biathlon and cross-country ski races. A U.S. Marine for 10 years, Bermejo served four tours in Iraq. He lost his right arm in a motorcycle accident after coming back from his last tour.

“I don’t particularly say to feel sorry for us, but respect the will of humanity, of what our brain and will can do to get above challenges,” Bermejo said.

Bermejo took up skiing as part of his rehab after the accident and the U.S. Paralympics recruited him.

Germany athlete Clara Klug arrived to compete in her first world championship. Klug said she was born with a condition where she is becoming blind.

“I love being in snow. I love the feeling of reaching something and crossing my own borders and getting better and better and better,” Klug said.

The opening ceremony kicks off Friday night with a parade of nations and fireworks. The event runs through Feb. 1.