Shea, Strong win banked slalom gold and silver at snowboard world championships

By Brianna Tammaro | Feb. 28, 2015, 2 p.m. (ET)
Mike Shea competes during the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing Snowboard World Cup in Aspen, Colo. on Jan. 12. 

LA MOLINA, Spain—After finishing ninth in the men’s LL-2 snowboard-cross race on Tuesday, Mike Shea has proved himself today as one of the top Paralympic snowboarders in the world, winning a gold medal in the banked slalom at the 2015 IPC Snowboard World Championships. Evan Strong was just 0.26 seconds behind him, taking silver in a highly competitive LL-2 class.

Shea (Castaic, California) and Strong (Maui, Hawaii) won silver and gold, respectively, at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and dueled for the 1-2 finishes again at the world championships with Shea coming out on top. Matti Suur-Hamari of Finland, who won the men’s snowboard-cross LL-2 world title on Tuesday, took third.

The win was especially poignant for Shea, as he dedicated his win to the late Para-snowboarder Matty Robinson of Australia.

“I'm very pleased to have finished this trip off winning first place in the banked slalom event,” Shea said. “The course was extremely fun and La Molina exceeded everyone's expectations. I dedicate this win to Matty Robinson. This week marks one year since his passing and I still think about him all the time. His passion for life and love for snowboarding continues to live on in all of us. We will never forget.”

Shea and Strong weren’t the only podium finishes in banked slalom for Team USA today. Teammates Brenna Huckaby (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) and Nicole Roundy (Salt Lake City, Utah) took second and third respectively in the women’s LL-1 division behind Paralympic silver medalist Cecile Hernandez-Cervellon of France. Heidi Jo Duce (Ouray, Colorado) also earned a bronze medal in the women’s LL-2 class as the Netherlands’ Biban Mentel-Spee won her second world title of the championships this week, capping off an undefeated season.

After two days of competition, the U.S. leaves Spain with an impressive nine medals, the most of any country, in the new snowboard-cross and banked slalom disciplines. The team earned two gold, four silver and three bronze medals. 

The U.S. snowboard team will finish the 2014-2015 season at the U.S. Paralympics Snowboard National Championships on April 3 in Aspen, Colorado. 

Video of today's banked slalom competition is available at TeamUSA.org. For full results of the 2015 IPC Snowboard World Championships, visit Paralympic.org