Paralympic Winter Games
7-16 March

Sochi 2014 preview: Snowboard

Snowboard is one of the most hyped-events for Sochi 2014, as it is set to make its Paralympic Winter Games debut. 06 Mar 2014
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Evan Strong

The USA's Evan Strong is the No. 1-ranked snowboarder in the world heading into the 2013-14 season, which will culminate with the discipline's Paralympic Games debut at Sochi 2014.

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By IPC

Many of the snowboarders who will be making their Paralympic debuts in Sochi are former X-Games medallists.

Outlook

After years of petitioning, snowboard is finally set to make its Paralympic Winter Games debut in Sochi, with one medal event being contested for men and one for women in the snowboard cross discipline.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympics open on Friday (7 March), but snowboarders will have to wait until 14 March to compete.

The sport features some of the most outgoing and adventurous athletes, including the USA’s Evan Strong and the Netherlands’ Bibian Mentel-Spee, who are expected to be the ones to beat.

Strong, who won the Test Event and 2012 World Championships, grew up in Hawaii where the only ice is shaved and served in cones or pina coladas. The X-Games gold medallist will receive the stiffest competition in Sochi from fellow American Mike Shea, along with New Zealand’s Carl Murphy and Canada’s Tyler Mosher.

The women’s competition is Mentel-Spee’s to lose after winning the Test Event in a time that would have earned her a silver medal in the men’s race. The 41-year-old was actually a six-time Dutch champion in half-pipe and snowboard cross and on her way to qualifying for the 2002 Olympics before losing her lower right leg to cancer.

The USA’s Amy Purdy – a former Amazing Race contestant – and Heidi Jo Duce will challenge the Dutch favourite for the top spot on the podium.

At a glance

Venue: Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre

Medal events: 2

Athletes: 50

Classification: Only athletes with leg impairments, such as amputations above the ankle, stiffness of the ankle or knee joint or muscle weakness, can compete in Sochi in the one sport class offered.

Paralympic Games debut: Sochi 2014

Did you know?

Many of the snowboarders who will be making their Paralympic debuts in Sochi are former X-Games medallists.

Ones to Watch

Bibian Mentel-Spee, Netherlands

Amy Purdy, USA

Evan Strong, USA