Snowboard made its Paralympic debut at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.
1. Ben Tudhope (Australia)
Arguably one of the biggest surprises of Sochi 2014 was this 14-year-old finishing among the top 10 riders as men’s snowboard cross made its Paralympic debut. Also a hit with the media, Tudhope comes from a winter sport family, as his sister Annabel has competed on the World Snowboard Tour and his other sister Phoebe has competed for Australia in moguls.
2. Lisa Bunschoten (Netherlands)
At just 18 years old, she finished seventh in the women’s snowboard cross competition in Sochi with a combined time of 2:55.84. Bunschoten, who trains at an artificial ski slope in Zoetermeer, Netherlands, will now try to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Bibian Mentel-Spee, who just claimed Paralympic gold in the sport.
3. Veronica Yoko Plebani (Italy)
While finished in 11th place in the women’s competition in Sochi, her times got better with each of the three runs and she is now attempting to become a dual-sport athlete, training for para-canoe for the Rio 2016 Paralympics. This 18-year-old could be one to keep your eyes on over the next several Summer and Winter Games.
4. Chris Vos (Netherlands)
Inspired by snowboard at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and introduced to the sport personally by Mentel-Spee, the 16-year-old finished in a respectable 13th place in his Paralympic debut in Sochi. As an ambassador of the Johan Cruyff Foundation, he is advocating for more young people with an impairment to get involved in sport while at the same time vaulting himself to one of the top riders in the world.
5. Heidi Jo Duce (USA)
Finishing fifth in Sochi was a great start to this 23-year-old’s Paralympic career. She is expected to be one to look out for at upcoming World Cup events and PyeongChang 2018 if she continues the sport, and is also known to kayak, rock climb, ice climb and mountain bike.