PyeongChang 2018: Banked slalom to close snowboard

Brenna Huckaby among athletes going for a sweep in final day 16 Mar 2018
three female snowboarders on a podium

Brenna Huckaby (C) is one of the contenders for banked slalom gold

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Banked slalom will debut as a discipline of snowboard in the Paralympic Games on Friday (16 March) at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre.

Athletes will compete over five medal events: both men and women’s races in the SB-LL1 and SB-LL2 categories, and men’s in the SB-UL. Compared to the head-to-head snowboard-cross discipline on Monday, riders will race in three runs on Friday, with the fastest of the three winning.

Men and women’s SB-LL1

The USA’s Brenna Huckaby will go for her second gold medal in the women’s event, after winning in snowboard-cross on Monday. The reigning world champion has been the strongest rider in her class. But looking to challenge her is compatriot Amy Purdy, whom Huckaby beat out in snowboard-cross but also recorded the fastest qualifying time. France’s Cecile Hernandez will also try to clock the fastest time for a Paralympic gold.

Another US rider in Mike Schultz will try to make it two-for-two in PyeongChang. The first-time Paralympian captured the season’s overall World Cup crystal globe. But Dutch world champion snowboarder Chris Vos will also be out for the gold on Friday.

Men and women’s SB-LL2

Spending her season mostly in and out of the hospital, Bibian Mentel-Spee showed on Monday that she is still the best in her class. The multi-world and Paralympic champion clocked the fastest qualifying run, en route to the cross gold medal earlier this week. The Dutch athlete can now add the new banked slalom Paralympic gold to her seasoned resume. The younger Dutch rider in Lisa Bunschoten however is still in form to challenge. The two went head-to-head in the cross finals and crashed into each other, with Bunschoten taken to the hospital for a cut to her cheek. Expect the two battle again for gold.

Finland’s Matti Suur-Hamari triumphed in the men’s SB-LL2 category on Monday, and the defending world champion will be among the favourites for the top prize in banked slalom. Japan’s Gurimu Narita crashed out in the cross competition and settled for bronze. But as the overall World Cup champion, Narita will be a big threat also to the USA’s Evan Strong and Mike Shea.

Men’s SB-UL

Friday would be redemption for Mike Minor, who crashed out of his chances in the cross big final. The US athlete clocked the two fastest qualifying runs with style points at the end. With banked slalom all about time, the gold is for Minor to lose. France’s reigning world champion Maxime Montaggioni has been ruled out of the Games due to an injury. Australia’s Simon Patmore and Italy’s Manuel Pozzerle are riding with gold and silver, respectively, from Monday and could also bring more hardware to their haul.

Every competition as well as the Closing Ceremony can be watched live right here on the International Paralympic Committee’s website. Highlights of each day’s action will also be made available.

Tickets for PyeongChang 2018 can be purchased here.