Thursday, February 16, 2012
“Bad Company” is the way to describe the next Paralympic Rowers for the United States. Rob Jones and Oksana Masters are two enthusiastic adaptive rowers, who have their dreams set on representing the United States in London 2012. The “Bad Company” partnership pairs these two amazing athletes with the resources of the local rowing groups, Athletes Without Limits, and the Paralympic Military Program to help this dynamic young team develop into World class athletes.
Oksana Masters was adopted at the age of 7 years old, from an orphanage in the Ukraine. She is a bilateral above knee amputee as a result of birth deformities from radiation poisoning inuterio. At the age of 13 she began rowing. Oksana holds many first place medals over the years in adaptive rowing, including ten gold medals from the Bayada Regatta. She competed twice at the Head of the Hooch with a first place finishes as well. Notably, Oksana was the first adaptive rower in the Indiana Head of the Eagle where she competed in the open women single race and won. She also rowed in the Head of the Ohio in the 2x adaptive division and finished second against slide seat rowers. In 2009 she set a world record at the CRASH B Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championship with a time of 4:27. With her current rowing partner Rob Jones, they rowed the Head of the Anacostia achieving a first place win. Oksana is an amazing young woman who has lived through and achieved more than many can even imagine. Through rowing, Oksana finds peace and healing on the water as well as strives for her dream of competing in the Paralympics.
Rob Jones is a US Marine who was honorably serving our country in Afghanistan when he came across an IED (explosive), which resulted in a need for amputations. Rob became a bilateral above knee amputee in July of 2010. However, he has not let this life changing incident change his attitude! Rob is a strong man with a great personality that has decided to turn his misfortune into an opportunity to be a competitive athlete. He is not only an adaptive rower but has also competed in the Marine Corps 10k (6.2 Miles), the Army 10 Miler, the CFI Mini Triathlon, as well as the Nations Olympic Distance Triathlon (a .9 mile swim, 24 mile bike, and a 6.2 mile run)! In his short adaptive rowing career, he has already placed in several competitions: 1st Male - Stonewall Regatta; 1st Male - Capital Sprints; 2nd Mixed and 2nd Male - Bayada Regatta; 1st Mixed - Head of the Anacostia, and 2nd Mixed - Head of the Charles. Rob’s strong drive and pure athletic talent will help in the pursuit of his 2012 Paralympics dream.
The goal of the 2012 London Paralympics is a dream; however with the talents, ambitions, and drive these two adaptive rowers show the potential to represent the United States is within reach.