5 Adaptive Action Sports athletes set to compete at 2022 Paralympic Games
The 2022 Paralympic Games are officially underway in Beijing as the opening ceremonies took place in the early morning hours Friday, March 4.
Sixty-seven American athletes represented the U.S. as they made their way around National Stadium during the opening ceremonies. At the forefront were Alpine skiers Danelle Umstead and Tyler Carter, who were chosen to be American flag bearers.
Among the 67 athletes in Beijing that will represent the U.S. from March 5-13 are five Paralympic snowboarders with ties to Summit County via the local adaptive pro team, Adaptive Action Sports.
Adaptive Action Sports provides recreational programs as well as high level snowboard and skateboard training for youths, young adults and wounded veterans living with permanent physical disabilities.
The main focus of the group revolves around developing the athlete in hopes of not only getting team members on the international stage but ultimately empowering athletes to feel like they can live beyond their limits.
Adaptive Action Sports makes up almost half of the American para snowboarders who will compete in the snowboard cross and banked slalom competitions. The U.S. Para Snowboard Team is made up of eight men and three women for a total of 11 athletes.
The Adaptive Action Sports group consists of Mike Minor, Zach Miller, Garrett Geros, Evan Strong and Kate Maddry.
The majority of the group will compete in the lower limb impairment two classification while Minor will compete in the upper limb classification.
Minor is no stranger to the Paralympic Winter Games. At the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, the Frisco resident won a gold medal in the banked slalom and a bronze in snowboard cross.
Minor will look to improve upon his bronze medal finish in snowboard cross and defend his medal in the banked slalom while in Beijing.
Miller, a Silverthorne resident, is set to compete in his first Paralympic Games. The 22-year-old was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 6 months old and joined Adaptive Action Sports at age 14 in order to pursue his dream of becoming an elite para snowboarder.
Despite being a rookie to the Paralympic Games, Miller is not inexperienced. He won bronze in snowboard cross at Finland’s 2019 World Para Snowboard Championships in the lower limb impairment two classification.
Miller also won gold and bronze medals during the beginning of the 2021-22 competition season in the Netherlands.
Geros, a Georgia native, grew up taking trips to California and West Virginia to snowboard, but after being involved in a life-threatening car crash — which resulted in first responders having to amputate his left leg in order to remove him from the wreckage — those trips came to a stop.
That was until Geros was introduced to Adaptive Action Sports by founders Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale, who got him back on the snow after the accident.
Since then, the 22-year-old has been training 26-30 hours a week in hopes of representing the U.S. at the Paralympic Games. Geros’ dreams came true when he was named to the team in large part due to how he competed over the past two years in the banked slalom and snowboard cross.
Strong grew up in Maui, Hawaii, and was involved in a motorcycle accident in 2017, which resulted in an amputated left leg. Two years after the crash, he was inspired to pursue competitive snowboarding and made the move to the continental U.S.
Strong now dedicates his day to training, whether it is getting in the weight room, stretching or getting out on the slopes.
Maddry was born in China with fibular and tibial hemimelia, leading to the amputation of her right leg. Maddry was adopted and brought to the U.S. at age 8, when she fell in love with snowboarding.
In 2018, Maddry attended the Hartford Ski Spectacular at Breckenridge Ski Resort, where she was gifted new adaptive gear by now U.S. Paralympic teammate Mike Schultz.
Maddry enters her first Paralympic Games with experience from the 2021 World Para Championships, where she placed fourth in dual banked slalom.
The Adaptive Action Sports team will start competing at the Paralympic Games at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5, as they compete in the qualifiers of the para snowboard cross competition.
Those who make finals will compete Sunday, March 6, at 9 p.m. in quarterfinals and possibly finals starting at 9:40 p.m.
The Adaptive Action Sport talent will wrap up its Paralympic Games on Saturday, March 12, in the banked slalom finals starting at 9 p.m.
All of the action will be broadcast live on USA Network as well as Peacock TV. A complete broadcast schedule for the Paralympic Games can be found at NBCOlympics.com.
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