- Brenna Huckaby, Mike Minor and Noah Elliott capture gold in banked slalom on final day of snowboarding competition at Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
- U.S. Paralympic Snowboarding Team wins seven medals (three gold, three silver, one bronze) to bring total to 13 in South Korea.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Team USA closed out a historic week in dominant fashion, packing the podium with seven medals (three gold, three silver, one bronze) in banked slalom in Friday’s finale of snowboarding competition at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Brenna Huckaby (Salt Lake City, Utah), Noah Elliott (St. Louis, Missouri), and Mike Minor (Waymart, Pennsylvania) highlighted the day with gold for the U.S. as the discipline made its debut in South Korea.
Huckaby sealed her sweep of the women’s LL1 class in her Paralympic debut as she won her second gold medal of the Games. It was a close race between Huckaby and Cecile Hernandez of France with less than half a second separating them. Amy Purdy (Silverthorne, Colorado) won her second medal of the Games and the third of her career as she grabbed bronze.
Minor threw down a massive third run to win the men’s upper limb classification. Minor was sitting in third after two runs but put together a flawless final run to secure the top spot by more than half a second. This is Minor’s second medal of the Games after bringing home the bronze in snowboard-cross earlier in the week.
Elliott made his name known with a new title of Paralympic champion in the men's LL1 class, leading the field to win gold and his second medal of the Games. Elliott won bronze on Monday in snowboard-cross at his first Paralympics alongside U.S. teammate Mike Schultz (St. Cloud, Minnesota), who took the win, and today won silver in his Paralympic debut.
Brittani Coury (Durango, Colorado) slid across the line in her third run in the women’s LL2 class to clock her fastest run of the day and secure the silver medal. In her debut Games, Coury broke up a possible Dutch sweep of the podium as she finished second behind two-time Paralympic champion Bibian Mentel-Spee and ahead of bronze-medalist Lisa Bunschoten.
In the men’s LL2 class, Evan Strong (Maui, Hawaii) made his first trip to the podium, clocking the second-fastest time in his third run to secure silver behind Japan’s Gurimu Narita. Strong, who lead the historic U.S. men’s snowboard-cross podium sweep in Sochi, came away with the final medal to close out Team USA’s snowboarding campaign in PyeongChang with 13 total medals.
1st: Brenna Huckaby (Salt Lake City, Utah/women’s LL1); Noah Elliott (St. Louis, Mo./men’s LL1); Mike Minor (Waymart, Pa./men’s LL1)
2nd: Brittani Coury (Durango, Colo./women’s LL2), Mike Schultz (St. Cloud, Minn./men’s LL1); Evan Strong (Maui, Hawaii/men’s LL2)
3rd: Amy Purdy (Silverthorne, Colo./women’s LL1)
4th: Nicole Roundy (Salt Lake City, Utah/women’s LL1); Mike Shea (Castaic, Calif./men’s LL2)
6th: Keith Gabel (Ogden, Utah/men’s LL2)
7th: Arlene Cohen (Breckenridge, Colo./women’s LL2)
8th: Mark Mann (Woodbury, Minn./men’s LL1)
14th: Jimmy Sides (Silverthorne, Colo/Marine Corps/men’s UL)
18th: Michael Spivey (Abilene, Texas/Marine Corps/men’s UL)
On winning two gold medals in PyeongChang…
“It’s a relief and a shock because I liked to think I could do it, but you never know until it actually happens. I’m very relieved.”
On seeing her U.S. teammate Brittani Coury win her first Paralympic medal…
“It was way cooler, I think, than even my own medal. I have been wanting this for her, I think, more than for myself because she is seriously the most genuine person I know and she works so hard. She’s been living with me in Utah and training out of there and I see how much she wants it and the work she puts in, so it’s so incredible to see it pay off in the biggest way. I’m so excited for her.”
On how he feels to represent Team USA…
“I’m so happy to be able to bring home another medal for our country, the U-S-A. I’m super proud to be an American and to be able to go up there and watch that American flag raised again; I can’t wait.”
On winning his first Paralympic gold medal...
“It hasn’t set in yet. It will definitely take a little bit, but I feel amazing. I’m just proud of my performance and am really happy that I was able to hold it all together when it mattered most.”
On the desire for a gold medal today…
“Everyone always wants a medal, but it’s also about reminding ourselves why we started this. We didn’t start this for medals; we started this because we love what we do and that’s the most important thing.”
On winning her first Paralympic medal...
“It’s just crazy. I love snowboarding, I’ve always loved snowboarding, and to just be here, enjoying it and having fun is just amazing. It’s life-changing. I want to get more girls into the sport so hopefully this inspires people to go out there and give it a try.”
On looking back at his journey after winning two Paralympic medals...
“This dream started a little over three and a half years ago, and there were points when I wasn’t sure I was going to continue but over the last year and a half, I realized this is really something I want to do and focus on. I saw myself over and over on top of the podium but on gameday here, the only thing I really thought about was putting my best runs down when it mattered. In snowboard-cross, I did it and came home with the gold and today, I was able to chip away at my time a little bit but just wasn’t quite fast enough. Noah ran an incredible run and I just couldn’t quite match it. I’m super pumped and excited to share the podium with my teammate again.”
On the growth of the sport since Sochi and success of Team USA…
“I’m not just extremely proud for Team USA, but I’m extremely proud for my sport. Seeing from the humble beginnings that it started to where it is now and how popular it is, the level of riding it’s at and the next generation that has come up since I’ve been racing [makes me believe] the sport is in good hands. It’s not going anywhere. This is awesome and so much fun and I’m excited about it.”
On competing at the Paralympics...
“Medals are great but each one went through a life-changing experience and we all had to adapt from this limitation. To come out and showcase our abilities instead of our disabilities and at the level of riding we’re able to do that through the avenue of snowboarding, I’m so proud of my sport. I’m stoked to be a part of this movement.”
On winning two medals in PyeongChang...
“It’s just amazing. There’s a much bigger picture here of thinking you can’t do something because you have a prosthetic leg or have injuries and pulling it together and making it happen, committing and going for it to see what the possibilities are. I look back to when I lost both my legs and just wanting to snowboard again. I certainly wouldn’t have known that I’d come here and win the medals that I have. I’m grateful that I’m able to share that with other people and that they can maybe look at what we do and say ‘hey, if they can do that then I can do that as well.’ There’s a bigger picture here than just the medal itself.”
U.S. Paralympic Snowboarding Medal Count: 13
Gold: Noah Elliott (banked slalom), Brenna Huckaby (snowboard-cross, banked slalom), Mike Minor (banked slalom), Mike Schultz (snowboard-cross)
Silver: Brittani Coury (banked slalom), Keith Gabel (snowboard-cross), Amy Purdy (snowboard-cross), Mike Schultz (banked slalom), Evan Strong (banked slalom)
Bronze: Noah Elliott (snowboard-cross), Mike Minor (snowboard-cross), Amy Purdy (banked slalom)
NBC Olympics is providing 250 hours of coverage from PyeongChang, including 94 hours on television, which is NBC Olympics’ most ever for a Paralympic Winter Games. View the complete TV and streaming schedule here.