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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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A picture of a man practising snowboard

Mike Shea

Alpine Skiing
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Sochi 2014 silver medallist Mike Shea had an impressive 2014-15 season after beating his Paralympic champion teammate Evan Strong in snowboard-cross and banked slalom at two IPC Snowboard World Cups.

The US rider is no stranger to success, but in recent seasons it is Strong who has been in control.

However, since the sport added banked slalom as a discipline and changed the format of snowboard-cross to include a head-to-head format, it is Shea who has been in the driving seat.

He won the very first World Cup titles in banked slalom and head-to-head, sharing history with Strong who won the very first Paralympic gold.

Their friendly rivalry includes Sochi 2014 bronze medallist Keith Gabel, where the trio have nicknamed themselves the ‘Three Amigos’.

Shea was injured in a wakeboarding accident in 2002, losing his left leg after a rope became wrapped around his ankle. He had already tried snowboarding prior to his accident, and driven by his interest in skateboarding, decided to move to Colorado full-time to focus on his career in 2010.

He is also involved as a coach at the National Sports Centre for the Disabled, passing his experience as a top-level athlete onto the next generation.

At the 2015 IPC Para Snowboard World Championships in La Molina, Spain, Shea carried his form into the banked slalom, winning gold ahead of Evan Strong.

In 2017 that title was taken by Finland's Matti-Suur Hamari, another one of Shea's competitors.

With the men's SB-LL2 one the the most unpredictable in Para sport, any one of the current field could spring a surprise at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympic Games.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
SB-LL2

Further personal information

Family
Wife Jaimie Mickalson, stepchildren Rider and Camden, daughter Ellie.
Residence
Castaic, CA, USA
Occupation
Athlete, Business Owner, Carpenter, Motivational Speaker
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He first began snowboarding in 1997, five years prior to his accident.
Why this sport?
He has a background in skateboarding from growing up in Big Bear, CA, United States of America, which influenced his desire to try snowboarding.
Training Regime
He trains at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, United States of America.

International debut

Year
2009
Competing for
United States

General interest

Hobbies
Baseball, hiking, fitness, cooking, woodworking, writing, camping, golf, yoga, stand up paddleboarding, playing the drums. (Athlete, 26 Jun 2016)
Memorable sporting achievement
Helping to develop Para snowboard as an elite sport since 2010. (Athlete, 10 Feb 2018)
Most influential person in career
Coaches Miah Wheeler and Erik Peterson. (Athlete, 26 Jun 2016)
Hero / Idol
His family. (Athlete, 10 Feb 2018)
Injuries
During the 2015/16 season he was diagnosed with posterior tibial tendinitis in his ankle. (Athlete, 26 Jun 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"PACE - progression, attitude, commitment, enjoyment. The four essential elements to my success over the years and something I try to live by everyday." (Athlete, 10 Feb 2018)
Awards and honours
He was named Athlete of the Month in January 2014 by the United States Olympic Committee [USOC]. (teamusa.org, 06 Feb 2014)

He has received a Hal O'Leary Achievement Award during his career. (Athlete, 10 Feb 2018)
Famous relatives
His father was a famous child actor and starred in a number of movies, including his role as Huckleberry Finn in the series 'The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'. (Athlete, 26 Jun 2016)
Impairment
In 2002, while wakeboarding with friends, a rope became wrapped around his left ankle. The incident resulted in severe injuries that required the amputation of his left leg below the knee. (Athlete, 20 Nov 2013)
Other information
BUSINESS OWNER
He is the founder and owner of Altered Grain Design, a woodworking and carpentry business in Castaic, CA, United States of America. (Facebook profile, 25 Feb 2019; Altered Grain Design Facebook page, 19 Dec 2018)

BATTLING ADDICTION
He has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction issues during his life. "In the years leading up to my accident from about the age of 15, I battled alcohol and drug addiction. I was on a path of self destruction, abandoning the family and friends who cared most about me. During the recovery from my amputation, my addiction progressed and manifested with the opiates prescribed for the pain. You can't get very far trying to hide a thing like that, but at some point, I decided it was time to ask for help. I went to rehab a few times before it worked. Addiction was harder for me to overcome than my amputation. Treatment changed my life. I'm now sober and work every day to live a life full of compassion and without fear or regret." (mikesheausa.com, 27 Nov 2017)

SUSPENSION
In March 2013 he returned a positive urine sample for buprenorphine at an International Paralympic Committee [IPC] sanctioned competition in Sochi, Russian Federation. He was given a one-month suspension. (paralympic.org, 2014; keirradnedge.com, 10 May 2013)

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 2
2015 IPCAS Para Snowboard World Championships La Molina (La Molina, Spain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL2 Race 1 2015-02-24 5
Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL2 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-LL2 Race 1 2017-02-04 3
Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL2 Race 1 2017-02-07 7
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL2 Final 2018-03-12 5
Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL2 Final 2018-03-16 4