Mike Shea wins snowboard cross gold at Copper Mountain world cup

By Katie Branham | Jan. 18, 2014, 6:15 p.m. (ET)

Mike Shea won the men's lower-limb title at the first Para-Snowboard world cup held in the United States.

COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. – Mike Shea won the men’s snowboard cross event at the International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing and Para-Snowboard World Cup at Copper Mountain Resort, Colo. on Saturday.

Shea (Castaic, Calif.) was one of six Team USA athletes to reach the podium on the first domestic world cup of the season. Today’s snowboard cross event also marked the first opportunity for Team USA’s snowboarders to compete in a world cup event on their home soil.

Shea recorded the three fastest runs of the day and his two best runs gave him a combined time of 1:21.10. Today marked Shea’s second consecutive world cup victory as he took gold at the first snowboard world cup of the season in Landgraff, Netherlands in November.

“Today was an awesome day of racing for me, “Shea said. “It was really good to see all of my hard training pay off. I have spent a lot of long tough days on the snow and in the gym. Everyone rode really well today, and with Sochi in sight, it’s really good to see how everybody has stepped it up. I look forward to the races ahead.”

Team USA had an outstanding showing in the men’s snowboard cross event. Evan Strong (Nevada City, Calif.) was three seconds behind Shea to secure the silver in the men’s lower limb impairment class. 

Marc Dervaes (West Chester, Pa.) finished second in the men’s upper limb impairment class with his two best runs giving him a time of 1:38.38, only two seconds back from first place. Fatu Matagi (Salt Lake City, Utah) rounded out the podium in third.

In the women’s snowboard cross, Heidi Jo Duce (Ouray, Colo.) made her way on to the podium as she took third in the women’s lower limb impairment class. Duce’s two best runs gave her a combined time of 1:49.04, enough to secure her podium spot by seven-tenths of a second.

In the alpine skiing races, seven-time Paralympic medalist Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished second in the women’s standing slalom. At the world cup event in Panorama, B.C. earlier in the week, Jones recorded three podium finishes in super-G, giant slalom and downhill competition.

At each world cup event, athletes will earn points that help determine world rankings and qualification for Paralympic events. Scoring is based on finishing place, with athletes aiming for as few points as possible. To qualify for world cups and ultimately the Paralympic Winter Games in each discipline, athletes must remain under a certain point threshold.

The U.S. team that will compete in alpine skiing at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will be named in February. Snowboard cross will make its Paralympic debut as part of the alpine skiing program at the Winter Games.

Complete results and more information are available at Paralympic.org.