Michael Spivey poses for a portrait during the World Para Snow Sports Championships on Jan. 20, 2022 in Lillehammer, Norway.
The U.S. Para snowboarding team won’t be leaving home without Michael Spivey.
The Abilene, Texas, native was named Thursday as the 12th member of the U.S. snowboarding team that will compete at next month’s Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
A retired U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant, Spivey also becomes the second snowboarder on this year’s team to have a military connection, joining Tyler Burdick, who served in the Navy.
Spivey’s spot on Team USA comes via the Bipartite Commission Invitation Allocation by World Para Snowboard and the International Paralympic Committee, which selected him based on performance so far this season in the SB-UL classification for athletes with impairments of the upper-limbs.
Competing last month at the historic World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway — where alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and snowboarding events were held together for the first time — Spivey posted top-10 finishes in both snowboardcross and dual banked slalom.
The former is a Paralympic event, while snowboarders compete in a solo banked slalom event at the Winter Games.
Spivey also placed fifth in a snowboardcross world cup event in December in Finland.
“We are so excited to add Michael to the team,” Jessica Smith, associate director of U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding, said in a press release. “Not only is he an incredible teammate, but he is also deserving of the chance to represent his country at a second Paralympic Games. He has been racing well this season, and we are thrilled to see that his hard work and dedication to both Team USA and the sport of Para snowboarding are being rewarded with a spot in Beijing.”
The U.S. team heads into the Paralympics with high hopes after claiming eight medals — three of them gold — in Lillehammer. Americans won five gold medals and 13 total medals at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, leading all nations in both categories.
The Beijing Games kick off with the Opening Ceremony on March 4 and snowboard action starting two days later.