Bibian Mentel-Spee had been setting the standard for her sport since 2002, and no woman was able to stop her winning ways.
Mentel-Spee called an end to her glittering career after winning double gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. It seemed unlikely that she would compete after undergoing two major surgeries and cancer treatment in the lead-up to PyeongChang 2018. But that made her victories even more special.
Mente-Spee retained her titles at the 2017 World Para Snowboard World Championships in Big White, Canada, in another stunning season, although she had to settle for third place in the World Cup banked slalom rankings after being beaten by compatriot Lisa Bunschoten and Australia’s Joany Badenhorst.
Mentel-Spee was a six-time Dutch champion in half-pipe and snowboard-cross events and on her way to qualifying for the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Games before she lost her lower right leg to cancer. Four months after her operation, she was back riding and within the year she was again a Dutch national champion.
Mentel-Spee is a multiple world champion and sent a firm message of intent to her rivals ahead of Sochi 2014 when she won the women’s race at the Test Event in March 2013, with a time that would have earned her a silver medal in the men’s race.
She then swept all of the 2013-14 and 2014-15 World Cup events, taking home the titles in all of them. This included historic first wins in the new discipline of banked slalom and the new head-to-head format for snowboard-cross in 2014-15, to add to the first Paralympic gold she won at Sochi 2014.
The Dutchwoman continued her winning streak at the 2015 IPC Para Snowboard World Championships in La Molina, Spain, taking double gold, before adding another World Cup title in the snowboard-cross in 2015-16.
Mentel-Spee holds a Masters degree in sports management and coaches many of the athletes on her national team. She started her own foundation, the Mentelity Foundation, which focuses on motivating, activating and facilitating children with impairments through board sports (wakeboarding, snowboarding and skateboarding).
Further personal information
Sport specific information
In 2017 she received the Strong Woman Award from Dutch company VanHaren. (strongwomenaward.nl, 25 Apr 2017)
She received the Courage Award at the 2015 Paralympic Sport and Media Awards, in recognition of her efforts to get snowboard included in the Paralympic Winter Games. (paralympic.org, 14 Nov 2015)
She was named the 2014 Paralympic Athlete of the Year by the Dutch Olympic Committee*Dutch Sports Federation [NOC*NSF]. (nos.nl, 16 Dec 2014)
She received the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. (paralympic.org, 15 Mar 2014; net5.nl, Mar 2014)
In 2012 she was named a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau in Netherlands. (wintersport.nl, 11 May 2012)
She died in March 2021 after a long battle with cancer. (paralympic.org, 29 Mar 2021)
She retired from competitive sport in October 2018. (paralympic.org, 24 Oct 2018)
In 2012 she founded the Mentelity Foundation, to encourage children and young adults with a physical impairment to participate in sport. "I was regularly publicised because of my sports performance, and my story was mostly known. I regularly received letters and phone calls with questions from other people with impairments. It often went to very simple things, but it gave me the idea to do something with it." (foryoumagazine.nl, 07 Sep 2016; bibianmentel.com, 2015)
In 2011 she published 'Met mijn goede been uit bed [With my good leg out of bed]', a book about her life story. (bol.com, Oct 2011)
She studied an international master in sport management at the Johan Cruyff Institute. (LinkedIn profile, Mar 2014)
|Women's Para Snowboard Cross Standing||Final Round||2014-03-14||1|
|Women's Snowboard Cross SB-LL2||Race 1||2015-02-24||1|
|Women's Banked Slalom SB-LL2||Race 1||2015-02-28||1|
|Women's Snowboard Cross SB-LL2||Race 1||2017-02-04||1|
|Women's Banked Slalom SB-LL2||Race 1||2017-02-07||1|
|Women's Snowboard Cross SB-LL2||Final||2018-03-12||1|
|Women's Banked Slalom SB-LL2||Final||2018-03-16||1|