Brenna Huckaby was one of the highest-profile athletes in the sport, and she lived up to the hype in her first Paralympics at PyeongChang 2018.
At 22 years old then, Huckaby claimed both women’s snowboard-cross and banked slalom SB-LL1 titles. It was a successful debut, with the gold completing her collection of world titles and World Cup crystal globes; she was also the overall crystal globe winner of the 2017-18 World Cup season.
Huckaby stormed into the Para snowboard scene at 19 years old, when she claimed a pair of World Championship medals, including gold in snowboard-cross. She missed the next season due to pregnancy but came back even stronger. Rejoining the national team’s training in August 2016, Huckaby reached the top of the podium in all but two of her World Para Snowboard events in the season.
Just a few points separated her from French rival and overall World Cup winner Cecile Hernandez. But Huckaby, at 21, positioned herself as a gold-medal favourite for PyeongChang 2018 after taking double-gold at the 2017 World Championships in Big White, Canada.
She overtook Hernandez in the snowboard-cross big final to win. The following day, she overcame a technical error in her first run of the banked slalom to clock the fastest time in her second to win another world title.
Huckaby’s first love was gymnastics. At 14 years old, she was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer which resulted in the amputation of her right leg above the knee. Following a difficult year in which the teenager had to give-up gymnastics, Huckaby was invited on a rehabilitation ski trip. She wanted to snowboard because it reminded her of the beam, her most successful event, and the transition was smooth.
Further personal information
Sport specific information
She has suffered a broken hip during her career. (Athlete, 10 Feb 2018)
She was named the International Paralympic Committee [IPC] Americas Athlete of the Month for February 2018. (paralympic.org, 05 Mar 2018)
She received the 2017 Adaptive Athlete of the Year award from the US Ski and Snowboard Association [USSA]. (Athlete, 10 Feb 2018)
She posed in Sports Illustrated magazine's swimsuit edition in 2018. "It was all about body positivity and showing the world how confident and how empowered I am, and that I can be strong and I can be beautiful, and I can be powerful in snowboarding, or as a mother, or in a swimsuit on the beach for everybody to see. Regardless of what you're going through, who you are, or what your body's like, you're a force, you're awesome, you're a boss. I wanted to show anybody out there who's dealing with something that they can overcome it and I wanted to be that role model for women with disabilities. Being featured in the 'Sports Illustrated' magazine was far more powerful than I envisioned. I shot with them so I could be the example I didn't have while going through amputation. Once Sports Illustrated came out I noticed a ton of other brands using women with disabilities in their advertising and I couldn't be more proud. We are changing the world." (pyeongchang2018.com, 08 Mar 2018; paralympic.org, 01 Feb 2019)
In early 2016 she took a break from sport to give birth to her daughter, Lilah. She returned to training in August 2016. (theadvocate.com, 13 Aug 2017; paralympic.org, 06 Feb 2017, 29 Mar 2019)
|Women's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1||Race 1||2015-02-24||1|
|Women's Banked Slalom SB-LL1||Race 1||2015-02-28||2|
|Women's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1||Race 1||2017-02-04||1|
|Women's Banked Slalom SB-LL1||Race 1||2017-02-07||1|
|Women's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1||Final||2018-03-12||1|
|Women's Banked Slalom SB-LL1||Final||2018-03-16||1|