Ones to Watch: Para snowboard01.09.2017
10 snowboarders and two breakthrough stars you need to keep an eye on in the run up to PyeongChang 2018
Ten athletes and two teenage talents have been named on the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Ones to Watch list for the upcoming Para snowboard season, which will culminate in the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games next March.
Selected by World Para Snowboard, the Ones to Watch athletes are individuals who have the potential to make headlines, especially at PyeongChang 2018, where the sport will make its second Paralympic appearance. The list includes a mix of snowboarders who debuted at Sochi 2014, won World Championships medals, were prolific on the World Cup circuit, and are also strong spokespersons for the sport.
Ones to Watch for the other winter sports, including Para alpine skiing and Para Nordic skiing, will be announced in the coming weeks.
2017/18 Ones to Watch
Amy Purdy, USA
Purdy raced at the 2017 World Championships in Big White, Canada after returning from injury, capturing the bronze medal in the women’s banked slalom SB-LL1. In and out of the competition scene since Sochi 2014, a healthy, focused Purdy could make headlines at PyeongChang 2018.
Bibian Mentel-Spee, NED
Mentel-Spee has been setting the standard for her sport since 2002. She retained her titles at the 2017 World Para Snowboard World Championships in Big White, Canada, in another stunning season.
Brenna Huckaby, USA
Huckaby will be the one to chase in the women’s SB-LL1 after a stellar 2016-17 season, in which she scooped up two World Championship gold medals in dominating fashion.
Hernandez-Cervellon finished runner-up to Huckaby at the 2017 Worlds and perhaps will be Huckaby’s biggest competitor this upcoming season.
Chris Vos, NED
Vos retained his world titles at Big White 2017 while also winning the snowboard-cross men's SB-LL1 crystal globe in 2016-17 thanks to his strong World Cup performances.
Evan Strong, USA
Strong won the men's snowboard-cross SB-LL2 World Cup - the first crystal globe of his career - and topped the overall rankings last season.
Lisa Bunschoten, NED
Bunschoten captured double silver at Big White 2017 behind compatriot and multiple world and Paralympic champion Bibian Mentel-Spee.
Matti Suur-Hamari, FIN
At the 2017 World Para Snowboard World Championships in Big White, Canada, Suur-Hamari retained his world title and added another gold in banked slalom.
Mike Minor, USA
Minor is coming off a year that saw him win the world title in the men’s snowboard-cross SB-UL and silver in banked slalom – which was his first defeated of the season. He finished atop both rankings, earning him the overall World Cup title.
Reinhold Schett, AUT
On his World Championships debut in 2017, Schett claimed silver and bronze in the snowboard-cross and banked slalom men’s SB-LL1 respectively. Top three finishes in both World Cup disciplines in the overall rankings also gave the Austrian a boost.
2017/18 Teenage talents
Ben Tudhope, AUS
Tudhope was arguably one of the biggest surprises of Sochi 2014, where he was only 15 years old. He finished among the top 10 riders in the men’s snowboard-cross despite being the youngest competitor. More experience could give the SB-LL2 rider an edge.
Suhyeok Park, KOR
Park first picked up the sport in 2015, and will be hoping for huge home support at PyeongChang 2018.