Roundup: Track Stars Aravich, Pike Conclude Their Paralympic Doubles
by Alex Abrams
Dani Aravich competes in the 400m in Tokyo. (Photo: Joe Kusumoto)
Every other week we scour the web for the latest going on in the world of U.S. Para track and field. Here’s what you missed!
Dani Aravich, Aaron Pike Complete Grueling Paralympic Stretch
Dani Aravich and Aaron Pike can finally take a break now that their grueling stretch is over.
Aravich set lofty goals for herself, even as a newcomer to adaptive sports. She wanted to make her Paralympic debut as a sprinter in Tokyo, then turn around and qualify for the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 as a Nordic skier.
Aravich accomplished her goal, and she celebrated it on Instagram after she was done racing earlier this month in Beijing.
“We did the damn thing! Two Paralympic Games 6 months apart,” Aravich wrote. “Crazy to see what my life has shaped into these past few years, but wouldn't trade it for anything.”
Aravich earned a pair of top-10 finishes in Beijing, both in cross-country skiing. She placed eighth in the sprint race and ninth in the middle-distance race.
Whether on the track in Tokyo or on the snow in Beijing, @ButlerAthletics' @theonearmdan is FAST 💨— Team USA College (@TeamUSACollege) March 12, 2022
Congrats on a top-10 finish!
All of @butleru was rooting and, of course, @TheButlerBlue was ruffing 🐶 for you the whole way! #ButlerWay | #ParalympiansMadeHere pic.twitter.com/pkzfSFD3w1
Aravich spoke to PEOPLE about the sacrifices she has made to be a dual-sport athlete. She said she took part in a ski time trial only two days after returning to the U.S. following the Tokyo Paralympics, where she competed in the 400-meter event.
Rather than taking it easy, the native of Boise, Idaho, has already turned her attention to the 2024 Paris Paralympics, where she could again compete as a sprinter.
“Now.... how long till Paris 2024?” she wrote on Instagram.
Pike, meanwhile, has made six consecutive Summer and Winter Paralympics. Like Aravich, he went from competing in track and field at the Tokyo Paralympics to skiing in Beijing.
Pike finished in the top 10 in three events in Beijing. He placed eighth in the biathlon sprint race, ninth in the biathlon individual race and 10th in the cross-country sprint event.
Along the way, Pike became a hit on social media with his public displays of affection with his longtime girlfriend, Oksana Masters, as she earned a record seven medals as a Para Nordic skier in Beijing.
The couple was dubbed “Pikesana.”
Challenged Athletes Foundation Expands Track Program
Challenged Athletes Foundation is looking for ways to get more adaptive athletes involved in track and field, according to a press release on Yahoo.
The foundation is planning to expand its High School Adaptive Sports Program, which provides education, resources, coaching and equipment for athletes to compete on their school’s track and field teams.
CAF started offering training sessions in parts of California on March 13, and the sessions expand to Los Angeles on March 20.
“Participating in track and field is an incredible opportunity for students to find connection with their school and our goal is to create inclusive high school teams with student-athletes of all abilities,” Bob Babbitt, co-founder of CAF, said in the press release.
“Last year our virtual program hosted student-athletes from 30 states, solidifying the need for inclusive sports at all ages.”
Finally, the 2022 CAF Los Angeles Adaptive Track & Field Clinic will take place on March 20th at Chino High School from 9:00AM – 12:30PM!— CAF (@CAFoundation) February 27, 2022
Register now: https://t.co/JZeMCPgqRX pic.twitter.com/HufhiGVnBZ
Noah Malone Prepares for New Season
Paralympic gold medalist Noah Malone appears ready for the World Para Athletics Grand Prix season to start.
Malone posted on Twitter a photo of himself racing to announce that the 13th Fazza International Championships in Dubai is only a few days away. The season-opening competition is set to start March 21 and runs through March 24.
Outdoor season kicks off in Dubai next week.🇦🇪 pic.twitter.com/ygpoMoXAcy— Noah Malone (@NoahMalone13) March 8, 2022
The Fazza International Championships will be held in the same venue that hosted the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships.
Malone, of Fishers, Indiana, earned three medals as a sprinter at the Tokyo Paralympics. He won gold as a member of the U.S. 4x100-meter universal relay team, and he earned a pair of silvers in the 100 and the 400 meters.
Alex Abrams has written about Olympic sports for more than 15 years, including as a reporter for major newspapers in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a freelance contributor to USParaTrackAndField.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.