U.S. Paralympics Sno... Features ICYMI In 2020: Wrapp...

ICYMI In 2020: Wrapping Up A Year Of Para Snowboarding Social Media And News

By Bob Reinert | Dec. 31, 2020, 4:45 p.m. (ET)

Brittani Coury waves to camera after competing at the Paralympic Games Pyeongchang 2018. 

Short on competitions during this highly unusual year, members of the U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding National Team continued to train and stayed quite active on social media. Here’s a representative sample of what they were up to in 2020.

Social Media Roundup

In a bit of positive news about COVID-19, Brittani Coury obtained her bachelor’s degree in nursing with a 4.0 GPA and went to work on the front lines against the deadly virus.

“Please keep all the healthcare workers in your thoughts and prayers during this time,” she wrote on Instagram. “My heart goes out to all those who’ve suffered loss or illness from the COVID-19 outbreak. Stay strong.

“I have had this picture for a little bit but didn’t think I was a hero, but the reality is nursing is hard, and I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve done enough. I’m continually trying to be a better nurse and athlete.”

And what does Coury do in her spare time – you know, when she’s not training or trying to save lives?

“I am doing some tiny house building cross-training with my sister this week,” she said in a July 23 Instagram post. “Fun fact, I learned how to tongue and groove when I was about ten years old when we built our own house. I actually enjoy working hard and seeing the finished goal.”

 

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Brenna Huckaby welcomed her second daughter, Sloan, born Jan. 24. “We are so thankful for healthy baby, healthy mommy, and healthy family,” she wrote on Instagram.

In a July 15 Tweet, Huckaby announced that she had finished her associate’s degree and was about to begin a special education program.

“I have big dreams for a future career in education and this is the first step in making it happen,” she wrote.

 

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Noah Elliott rode in the 2020 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride on Sept. 27.

“Raising money for men’s prostate cancer and mental health awareness,” Elliott wrote on Instagram. “If you have a bike, join in!”

Elliott also spoke to school children in Braham, Minnesota, on Feb. 8.

“What a Friday!” Elliott wrote on Instagram. “Meeting so many kids and learning all of their ‘gold medal moments.’ I am so thankful to have met all the kids from the 4th to the 12th grade!”

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In a Jan. 15 Instagram post, Keith Gabel announced that he has accepted a full-time position as a sports program manager with the Semper Fi Fund. He began as a volunteer with the program in 2011.

“This organization is one of a kind, has treated me and mine like family from the beginning and at times is what keeps my glass full during the winter,” Gabel wrote. “To be honest this has been a goal of mine for a long time now. I am humbled and so grateful that such an awesome organization has seen my hard work and dedication and would be interested in investing in me.”

Gabel also took to Instagram March 23 to announce that he was chosen to receive the Utah State of Sport Award as Adaptive Male Athlete of the Year.

“Unfortunately, due to current circumstances, the award ceremony has been postponed to a later date; however, that won’t stop us from celebrating!” he wrote.

 

 

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Joe Pleban invited his Instagram followers on Oct. 7 to take the #PentaDance4Mobility Challenge fundraiser with him.

“Penta provides prosthetic limbs to amputees around the world without access to prosthetic care!” Pleban wrote.

If Pleban wasn’t dancing, he was flying. His Aug. 27 Instagram post reported a wild ride in a biplane on his 30th birthday.

“Once-in-a-lifetime experience while I was back in VA!” he wrote. “I got to climb in a biplane and go through some aerobatics.”

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Mike Schultz rode in a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

“Huge thank you to the BP Moto Ranch, St. JUDE children's hospital and everyone else that made this amazing day happen!” Schultz wrote in his Sept. 12 Instagram post.

At the X Games in Aspen, Schultz and Daina Shilts took gold in the Special Olympics Unified Snowboard dual slalom team event.

“Such a fun event for all of us athletes and the perfect way to show what sports are all about!” Schultz wrote in his January 23 Instagram post. “I'm so happy that I could be part of Daina's first gold medal. She's been working so hard for this since X Games brought on this event.”

In The News

The world championships, originally scheduled for February 2021, have been moved to January 2022 in Lillehammer, Norway, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That will make for a hectic competitive schedule early that year. The Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing will begin March 4.

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Move United, a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in sports, held its 33rd annual Ski Spectacular Dec. 1-3. Though it was held virtually, the event drew 1,070 attendees from 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In recent years, the event had attracted 700-800 participants to Breckenridge, Colorado.

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Before the spread of COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2019-2020 World Para Snowboard World Cup circuit finale last March in Hafjell, Norway, Team USA members picked up medals in the dual banked slalom. Noah Elliott took home gold in men’s LL1, Mike Schultz captured silver in men’s LL1, and Brittani Coury won bronze in women’s LL2.

Bob Reinert

Bob Reinert spent 17 years writing sports for The Boston Globe. He also served as a sports information director at Saint Anselm College and Phillips Exeter Academy. He is a contributor to USParaSnowboarding.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.