A female Para snowboarder competing

Cecile Hernandez

Snowboard | Alpine Skiing


Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Impaired muscle power
Origin of Impairment

Further personal information

Daughter Victoire-Eleonore [2007]
Other names
Cecile Hernadez-Cervellon
Athlete, Motivational Speaker
Catalan, French

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began snowboarding as a girl, and first tried Para snowboard in December 2013.
Why this sport?
"In the mid-1990s I was doing BMX, but the discipline was gradually being abandoned in favour of mountain biking, so I started looking for a sport that would give me the same sensations as BMX. Gliding, speed, trajectories and jumps. As I lived in a mountainous region, snowboarding came to me and I immediately loved it."
Club / Team
Douanes [FRA] / SC Les Angles [FRA]:
Name of coach
Yannis Dole [national], FRA
Training Regime
During the European winter she trains on the slopes in Les Angles, France. She also combines her training with skateboarding in Theza, France.

International debut

Competing for

General interest

Cash (Facebook page, 29 May 2020)
Writing, journalism, BMX. (, 02 May 2021;, 23 Jun 2018)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning a silver medal at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, and winning gold at the 2015 World Championships in La Molina, Spain. (, 01 Oct 2017; Confinement Inside YouTube channel, 08 Apr 2020)
Most influential person in career
Physio Claude Lemouzy. (OIS, 04 Mar 2022)
At the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, she crashed during a training run and went to hospital for checks on her knees and shoulder. She was still able to compete at the Games. (OIS, 06 Mar 2022)

In January 2020 she broke two vertebrae after slipping on the snow during a training session. She returned to competition less than two months later. (, 29 May 2020)

She dislocated her hip and knee 11 days before she won the SB-LL1 snowboard cross competition at the 2019 World Cup event in La Molina, Spain. (, 05 Mar 2019)

She suffered a shoulder injury in the early part of 2018. (, 01 Mar 2018)

She sustained an injury to her left foot in 2017, which prevented her from training for five months. (, 20 Sep 2018;, 28 Nov 2017; Facebook page, 26 May 2017)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
She carries the three medals she won at the 2014 and 2018 Paralympic Winter Games almost everywhere. "I want them to feel 'alive', so I take them with me almost everywhere. They symbolise my everyday fight. It's the culmination of all those dark years with my illness, all those years of training and the embodiment of all I was able to achieve as a woman and as a mother." (, 20 Sep 2018)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Age is not a number. It's motivation, it's passion, it's training, it's how you can love life – and I know how important life is." (OIS, 04 Mar 2022)
Awards and honours
In October 2019 she was named a Knight of the National Legion of Honour in France. (, 10 Oct 2019)

In June 2014 she was named a Knight of the National Order of Merit in France. (, 10 Nov 2015)
Other sports
She competed in BMX at international level prior to her diagnosis for multiple sclerosis. (, 16 Feb 2014)
She became the first snowboarder representing France to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Winter Games when she triumphed in women's SB-LL2 snowboard cross at the 2022 Games in Beijing. At the 2014 Games in Sochi, she had become the first snowboarder representing France to win a Paralympic Winter Games medal of any colour when she claimed silver in women's standing snowboard cross. (SportsDeskOnline, 08 Mar 2022)
She began experiencing medical issues in 2000 but doctors were unable to identify the problem. Then, two years later, she awoke one morning with paralysis in her legs and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. (, 20 Sep 2018;, 15 Mar 2016)
Other information
She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2002 after waking up one day unable to move her legs. Doctors told her she would never walk again but three years later she met Claude Lemouzy, a physiotherapist who Hernandez says changed her life. "One time he looked at me, we were in August, and he said, 'Please, Cecile, believe me. In December, you will walk again'. On the 16th of December 2005, I walked. I don't walk very quickly, very long, or very fast, but I stand on my legs and I stand on my snowboard. He's still my physio now [speaking in 2022]. He helped me to fall pregnant and to be a mum. He's very important in my life. Just before leaving [for the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing], he texted me and said, 'I believe in you. I'm with you. Be strong and stay confident'." (OIS, 04 Mar 2022)

In December 2013 she was introduced to French Para snowboarder Patrice Barratero at an awards ceremony, which inspired her to try the sport for the first time. A few days later she received a phone call from the coach of the French national team, who said he would like to test her. She tried out the sport over the Christmas period, with mixed results, and was then informed in January 2014 that a final test would be at a World Cup event in Colorado, United States of America, that month. She finished fourth, and was told the national federation would try to enter her into the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. Although she was not on the initial list of athletes that would be participating at the Games, the French federation requested special dispensation for her and she was named in the team on 11 February 2014. She went on to win a silver medal in snowboard cross in Sochi, three months after taking up the sport. "I arrived in Sochi without putting pressure on myself. I was coming out of nowhere, I had not trained much. I arrived with the carefree motivation of a beginner. I did not know anything and I was there just to have fun." (, 20 Sep 2018)

She has worked as a commentator for the French radio station Europe 1, and as a journalist for French newspaper Le Figaro for which she was Para sport chief editor and covered the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. She has also authored books including 'La Guerre des Nerfs' [The War of Nerves], which focuses on her experiences of living with multiple sclerosis. (, 20 Sep 2018;, 01 Oct 2017;, 20 Jan 2017;, 03 Dec 2020;, 04 Mar 2021)


Unit Date Rank
Paralympic Winter Games 2014 (Sochi, Russia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Para Snowboard Cross Standing Final Round 2014-03-14 2
2015 IPCAS Para Snowboard World Championships La Molina (La Molina, Spain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1 Race 1 2015-02-24 2
Women's Banked Slalom SB-LL1 Race 1 2015-02-28 1
2017 IPC Snowboard World Championships Big White, CAN (Big White, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1 Race 1 2017-02-04 2
Women's Banked Slalom SB-LL1 Race 1 2017-02-07 2
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1 Final 2018-03-12 3
Women's Banked Slalom SB-LL1 Final 2018-03-16 2
Pyha 2019 World Para Snowboard Championships (Pyha, Finland)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Banked Slalom SB-LL1 Race 1 2019-03-27 1