- Brenna Huckaby and Mike Minor win snowboard-cross world titles at Big White, Canada.
- U.S. team collects six medals on opening day of 2017 World Para Snowboard Championships.
- Team USA will return with banked slalom competition on Tuesday.
KELOWNA, British Columbia – Brenna Huckaby (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) and Mike Minor (Waymart, Pennsylvania) rose to the occasion on Saturday at the 2017 World Para Snowboard Championships, winning world titles in snowboard-cross and leading Team USA’s six trips to the podium at Big White, Canada.Despite snowy conditions and low-visibility on the course, Huckaby cruised to back-to-back world titles in the women’s LL1 class, defeating Cecile Cervellon-Hernandez of France in the gold medal round. Her U.S. teammate, Nicole Roundy (Salt Lake City, Utah) held her own to claim bronze against home favorite Michelle Salt of Canada.
Winning gold on World Cancer Day, Huckaby’s victory was of special significance on a day that will forever bring new meaning since losing her leg to osteosarcoma in 2010. Since then, she hasn’t let cancer slow her down, winning three world championship medals in only her second season with Team USA after taking off last year to give birth to her first child.
Minor plowed through powder races today to win his first gold medal on the world championship stage. The 26-year-old stormed through the heats to advance to the big final in the men’s UL division, beating France’s Maxime Montaggioni for the snowboard-cross title in his world championship debut.
In the men’s LL2 class, Evan Strong (Maui, Hawaii) and Mike Shea (Castaic, California) took two-and-three, respectively, after close races in the big and small finals. Strong, the 2014 Paralympic champion, grabbed his second consecutive silver in the event after placing second in 2015.
Mark Mann (Woodbury, Minnesota) impressed in his world championship debut, defeating fellow American Mike Schultz (Saint Cloud, Minnesota) for the bronze medal in the men’s LL1 class. The newcomer currently sits at the top of the overall world cup rankings.
“As crappy as cancer is, without having cancer and beating it, I wouldn’t be here. It’s all about having that attitude of survival, pushing and not letting it defeat you. Bad things are going to happen in your life but it’s up to you where you want to go from there. It was easy for me to look back and say that without losing my leg from cancer, I’d be a collegiate gymnast and having a great time, but I’m having a really cool time [in my life]. I’m traveling to all different countries and without all this, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
“It means everything to me. I took the season off last year to have a baby and coming back I didn’t think anything of it, but I decided today that I was going to do this for my daughter. To do this for my daughter and with my daughter is huge. I can’t even explain it; it’s amazing.”
“It’s been a long road and it’s nice to finally see it paying off.”
“I ride for everyone who supports me. They ignite the fire and I wouldn’t be here without them. This win was for Patrick Mayrhofer who blew out his knee on the first day of practice. He asked me to go win world championships for him so I went out and did it.”
Competition will resume with banked slalom on Tuesday, the final day of world championship action. Follow live results on the Big White 2017 website and U.S. Paralympics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for Team USA updates.