Seven snowboarders have been named into the Canadian team for PyeongChang 2018, with five of them set to make their Paralympic Winter Games debut. John Leslie (men’s LL2) and Michelle Salt (women’s LL1) are the only two who already competed at Sochi 2014.
“The main difference between Sochi and PyeongChang for me is the level of dedication. After Sochi I put all my efforts into becoming the best Para snowboarder I could be. I have done all the preparation needed to podium and am excited to compete against the best in the world!” said Leslie.
The team is coming off one of the most successful World Cup seasons in its history, which saw Curt Minard taking second in the snowboard-cross UL rankings and Salt third in the banked slalom LL1 rankings.
Salt said: “I went to Sochi with limited expectations. I knew I still had a lot of work to do to be on the podium but was ready to take it all in. Now, I’m going prepared and with years of experience and hard work under my belt.”
Minard added: “I am extremely honoured to be selected and I am as ready as I will ever be. The hard work, commitment and determination on the quest to represent Canada have prepared me for this amazing journey.”
Canada capped off the World Cup Finals in style, grabbing third in the overall Nations Cup standings, the first time the North American country has reached the podium.
Sandrine Hamel (women’s LL2), Alex Massie (men’s LL2), Andrew Genge (men’s UL) and Colton Liddle (men’s LL2) will be the other four Canadian snowboarders at PyeongChang 2018.
“I’m incredibly honoured to have witnessed the Canadian team’s progression in Para snowboarding since its Paralympic debut at Sochi 2014,” said Patrick Jarvis, Executive Director of Canada Snowboard.
“Canada Snowboard athletes, coaches, and support staff have been working diligently to prepare for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympic Games, and I hope that all Canadians will join me in celebrating this sport, this team, and especially these riders and their incredible achievements on the world stage.”
Todd Nicholson, PyeongChang 2018 Chef de Mission, added: “A big congratulations to all of the Para snowboarders named to the Canadian Paralympic Team today.
“Snowboarding is such an exciting sport that is continuing to grow at the Paralympic Games and it is fantastic to see Canada sending a full team of talented athletes we will be proud to watch compete. Best of luck to all of our snowboarders at the Games, and we’ll be there supporting them the whole way.”
Competition dates for snowboard-cross and banked slalom are 12 and 16 March, respectively.
“Whenever I watch them race, I am amazed by the talent of our Para snowboard athletes,” said The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.
Full story is available on the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s website.