Page back
GABEL Keith
Sport Para snowboard
NPC United States   
GenderMen
Age34
Place of BirthSalt Lake City, UT, USA
Height1.78 m
Weight 82 kg
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
SB-LL2
Further Personal Information
Marital status
Married
Family
Wife Heather
Residence
Aspen, CO, USA
Occupation
Athlete, Motivational Speaker
Languages
English
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He initially began skiing at a young age in Utah, United States of America, but quickly switched his attention to snowboarding and took up the sport in 2000.
Why this sport?
He had been a keen snowboarder before his accident, and was determined to stay in the sport. "The first thing I asked my doctor when we had the conversation about amputation was, 'How long until I can snowboard again?' I was back on my board three months after my amputation."
Club / Team
Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club: United States
Senior International Debut
Year
2011
Competing for
United States
Tournament
World Cup
Location
Orcières, FRA
General Interest
Nicknames
Grizzly (Athlete, 10 Feb 2018)
Hobbies
Hiking, mountain biking, dirt bikes, fishing, camping, travel, boating, wakeboarding, playing the drums, baking, cooking. (Athlete, 10 Feb 2018; Facebook page, 11 Jan 2018)
Most influential person in career
His father and his stepmother. (teamusa.org, Feb 2017)
Hero / Idol
US snowboarders Jeremy Jones and Travis Rice. (Athlete, 10 Feb 2018)
Injuries
He tore a groin muscle and separated his shoulder at the end of the 2012/13 season and spent the following off-season in recovery. (keithgabel.com, 02 May 2012)

He broke several ribs in February 2012. (keithgabel.com, 02 May 2012)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
He has pre-race rituals that he sticks to. "No matter what I'm doing, I'm thinking about the course and visualising. Come race day I will have visualised the course at least 20 to 30 times. I listen to music that keeps me pumped and in a good mood." (athletego.com, 09 Oct 2013)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"The power of positivity will always persevere." (Athlete, 10 Feb 2018)
Awards and honours
In 2014 he was presented with a History-Maker Award by the state of Utah in the United States of America. (Athlete, 10 Feb 2018)
Ambitions
To win a gold medal at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, to start a non-profit organisation and to write a book. (Athlete, 10 Feb 2018)
Impairment
In 2005 an industrial accident resulted in his foot being crushed by more than 2000 pounds of hydraulic pressure for over 15 minutes. Following four blood transfusions, a blood clot in his left lung and multiple operations, his left leg was amputated below the knee. (Athlete, 20 Nov 2013)
Other information
IMPAIRMENT IMPACT
He believes his impairment has impacted his life in a positive way. "I'm a much better snowboarder than I was before I lost my leg and it's opened up opportunities. I get to see the world and do what I love for a living, while mentoring other people who have gone through some life-altering injury. I also would never have met my wife. The quality of my life is better in all respects." (thehartford.com, Dec 2017)

TATTOOS
He has a number of tattoos. His favourite one is halfway down his right leg. "It is a band of stitches that looks like my leg has been cut off and sewn back on. Ironically, I actually got this tattoo a few years before I lost my other leg. My amputation is about an inch lower than the placement of the tattoo but on my left leg. The meaning of this tattoo is that, it doesn't matter what happens to me, you could cut my leg off and I'll still bounce back. I guess the universe wanted me to put my money where my mouth was." (teamusa.org, 14 Jun 2013)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
He has served as an ambassador for 'Team for Tomorrow', which supports community outreach programmes. "I love doing this kind of stuff because I'm a product of community outreach programmes. When I lived with my mother in Oregon, we were super poor. We ate at soup kitchens, were in and out of homeless shelters. I even stood in line with my mother for days on end during Christmas time for Toys for Tots just so my siblings could get a decent present. So to be able to give back to the community is an honour for me." (highfivesfoundation.org, 29 Jan 2015; athletego.com, 09 Oct 2013)

Competition Highlights (historical)
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
4 2011/2012 Snowboardcross - Standing  
7 2014/2015 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
4 2014/2015 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 2 Impaired 1:28.08
10 2016/2017 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
10 2016/2017 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 2 Impaired 1:10.50
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
3 2014 Snowboardcross - Standing 1:47.10
2 2018 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
6 2018 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 2 Impaired 51.43
World Cup Finals
Rank Year Event Result
5 2015/2016 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
4 2015/2016 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
4 2015/2016 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 2 Impaired 56.75
2 2016/2017 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
4 2016/2017 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
4 2017/2018 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired 1:07.96
11 2017/2018 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 2 Impaired 1:19.54