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Dutch male athlete rides snowboard down a slope

Chris Vos

Snowboard
1

Chris Vos is only 21 but already has an outstanding snowboard resume. He owns four World Championship gold medals, numerous World Cup crystal globe titles, and a Paralympic Winter Games medal from PyeongChang 2018.

It helped that the youngster began the sport early, being a protégé of legendary Paralympic and world champion Bibian Mentel-Spee.

He was only 16 years old when he competed at Sochi 2014, where snowboard debuted in the Paralympics. His 13th place finish in snowboard-cross was just a hint of his potential in future Games.

Vos stunned the sport at the 2015 World Championships, storming to double gold in banked slalom and snowboard-cross in the men’s SB-LL1 at just the age of 17.

That season, he also finished atop the World Cup rankings for his classification after four podium finishes. And he repeated the two World Cup wins the following season.

Vos’ talent continued to shine even brighter after retaining his titles at the 2017 Worlds in Big White, Canada; he also won the men's SB-LL1 snowboard-cross crystal globe in 2016-17. But, in the banked slalom, he was overcome by the USA's Mark Mann, the very man who spoiled Vos’ golden hopes at PyeongChang 2018. The Dutchman felt even more disappointment when he fell short of the PyeongChang banked slalom podium.

But with youth on his side, Vos expressed his determination to make up for his PyeongChang results, especially with Beijing 2022 to look forward to.

Biography

Impairment information

Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
SB-LL1

Further personal information

Residence
Noordbeemster, NED
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
Dutch, English, German, Spanish

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began snowboarding at age seven. He received a prosthesis at age 13, which allowed him to bend his leg fully while snowboarding.
Why this sport?
He was inspired by watching Dutch snowboarder Nicolien Sauerbreij win gold at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. His parents contacted the local association, and they later got in touch with Dutch Para snowboarder Bibian Mentel, who introduced him to the sport and mentored him ahead of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.
Name of coach
Frank Germann [national], NED
Training Regime
He includes mountain biking, skateboarding and surfing in his training schedule. "I call it playing outside and for me that works way better because I don't really like the gym."

International debut

Year
2010
Competing for
Netherlands
Tournament
World Cup
Location
Orcières, FRA

General interest

Nicknames
Adaptive Chris (adaptivechris.com, 22 May 2013)
Hobbies
Mountain biking, flying private aircraft. (Instagram profile, 18 Sep 2020, 03 Jul 2020, 28 Sep 2020; adaptivechris.com, 26 Jul 2020)
Most influential person in career
His parents and his brother Lorenzo, as well as Dutch Para snowboarder Bibian Mentel and her husband Edwin Spee. (Athlete, 30 Jun 2016)
Hero / Idol
Para snowboarders Bibian Mentel, Amy Purdy and Evan Strong, Dutch Para alpine skier KJ van der Klooster, Dutch Para sprinter Marlou van Rhijn, Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff. (Athlete, 30 Jun 2016; adaptivechris.com, 22 May 2013)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I can do everything like everybody." (Athlete, 22 May 2013)
Awards and honours
In 2020 he was presented with the Beemster Sport Medal by the mayor of Middenbeemster, Netherlands. (aarlemse-stadsglossy.nl, 25 Mar 2020)
Other sports
His brother Lorenzo has represented the Netherlands in snowboard cross. (adaptivechris.com, 27 Nov 2013)
Impairment
In 2003 he sustained injuries to his right leg and his pelvis in an accident involving a digging machine. (Athlete, 22 May 2013)
Other information
ORTHOSIS
Due to his impairment, he wears an orthosis on his right leg. He began using a new specially designed orthosis for snowboarding in 2019. "It's like a knee brace, but it's from my groin to my foot. I have different orthoses, one for walking and the other for snowboarding. The snowboarding one is a nice piece of technology, with twice as much carbon and titanium as usual and a real suspension spring from a motorcycle. Last summer [speaking in October 2019] I visited one of my biggest rivals in the United States of America. That guy builds his own orthoses and he wanted to help me with a new suspension. I said, 'Of course!' With that new spring I can go deeper with my knees and therefore snowboard better." (toyota.nl, 02 Oct 2019; snowplanners.com, 08 Dec 2019; Instagram profile, 21 Oct 2019)

FOUNDATION
In November 2018 he set up the Chris Vos Foundation. The foundation aims to help children and young adults with an impairment get involved in sport and exercise. "After all I have achieved, I find it very nice to inspire and get other people involved. The integration of people with an impairment in this area deserves full attention. A lot of times in the Netherlands you need to buy your own sporting leg or wheelchair and then there's no money for other equipment for your sport, so I really want to help people with [the money] I can get out of the foundation and make them realise their dream." (paralympic.org, 14 Mar 2019; adaptivechris.com, 11 Nov 2018)

PILOT
In July 2020 he earned a private pilot licence after completing a two-year training course. "This is a childhood dream come true for me. As a child I was already behind the flight simulator all day, and since then it has just worked out. I always thought that given my physical condition it was not for me, but my mum took the initiative and gifted me some flying lessons. And so the ball started rolling. I learned the theory through self-study and I took practical lessons between snowboarding competitions and training sessions. I am now proudly Captain Chris." (Instagram profile, 28 Sep 2020; adaptivechris.com, 26 Jul 2020)

AUTHOR
In 2018 he released a book called 'Xtreme'. "It is my story from a five-year-old to now. The first three months after my accident is written by my mother straight out of her diary and how I became me, with the struggles we had to get a normal life. It is about how every step literally was victory for us. The book describes how I got into snowboarding, the people who are important to me, all the ups and downs. The victory and the losses. The book says it all." (paralympic.org, 24 Jul 2018)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Paralympic Winter Games 2014 (Sochi, Russia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Para Snowboard Cross Standing Final Round 2014-03-14 13
2015 IPCAS Para Snowboard World Championships La Molina (La Molina, Spain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1 Race 1 2015-02-24 1
Men'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
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1 Race 1 2017-02-04 1
Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL1 Race 1 2017-02-07 1
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1 Final 2018-03-12 2
Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL1 Final 2018-03-16 4
Pyha 2019 World Para Snowboard Championships (Pyha, Finland)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL1 Race 1 2019-03-27 3
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1 Race 1 2019-03-30 2