Summit County’s Amy Purdy wins snowboard cross silver at Paralympics; Frisco’s Minor wins bronze
There’s more snowboard silver in these Summit County hills after all.
Less than a month after Silverthorne residents and good friends Red Gerard and Kyle Mack won gold and silver in snowboard slopestyle and big air respectively, fellow Silverthorne resident Amy Purdy made it three first and second place snowboard medals from the South Korea Olympic and Paralympic Games for Summit County.
The 38-year-old para-snowboarder Purdy is now a two-time Paralympic medalist after she finished in second place in the snowboard cross – lower limb 1 impaired race on Monday.
This year’s silver for Purdy follows up her bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games where she took third in the debut snowboard cross competition at a Paralympics.
“When I was standing in the start gate, I was thinking to myself that I just want to ride well, show what’s possible and do my best,” Purdy said. “I think I was able to do that, which I’m really proud about. I’m thrilled to have upgraded my bronze medal from Sochi.”
In 2014, Purdy took that bronze in the only Paralympic para-snowboard discipline: standing athletes.
This year, medals have been and will be awarded to female Paralympians across four para-snowboard cross disciplines: Snowboard cross – lower limb 1 impaired; Snowboard cross – lower limb 2 impaired; Banked slalom – lower limb 1 impaired and banked slalom – lower limb 2 impaired.
For male Paralympians, medals have been and will be awarded for six para-snowboard disciplines: Snowboard cross – lower limb 1 impaired; Snowboard cross – lower limb 2 impaired; Banked slalom – lower limb 1 impaired; Banked slalom – lower limb 2 impaired; Banked slalom – upper limb impaired and Snowboard cross – upper limb impaired.
Purdy took the silver behind her American teammate and gold medalist Brenna Huckaby.
“With the race with me and Amy, what was going through my mind was no matter what, USA was walking away with a gold and silver so to me, that was incredible,” Huckaby said. “I didn’t care which one I had; I was just stoked for the U.S.”
“Its still sinking in that I’m walking away with a silver!” Purdy wrote on her Instagram account today. “Yesterday was the first time I won qualifiers against our full field of women so that was a win in itself! Let alone making it to finals and racing for Gold!! The bottom line is you can’t be afraid to fail. Just give your best and be blessed for the rest.”
— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) March 13, 2018
The Las Vegas-native Purdy began snowboarding at the age of 15 before she contracted bacterial meningitis four years later. As a result, both of her legs were amputated just below the knee. The impairment didn’t stop her snowboarding dreams, however, as she co-founded Adaptive Action Sports in 2005.
And in the lead up to this year’s games, Purdy also was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a condition that results in the breakdown of muscle tissue, in her arms. Purdy wrote on Instagram that she also suffered from brachial neuritis, which made her arms burn like fire. The condition caused numbness, weakness and muscle atrophy in her arms.
This second Olympic medal for Purdy comes after years of pushing for the inclusion of para-snowboarding in the Paralympics, a sport that saw a huge expansion in events from the 2014 to 2018 games.
“Although I didn’t win Gold I am so proud for how far I have come,” Purdy wrote on her Instagram account on Monday. “… After an extra long 12 hour race day with many delays, snow conditions deteriorating & the startgate breaking I was able to stay relaxed and have fun through it all which was my #1 goal! If there is one thing adaptive athletes are good at its adapting! You never know what will come your way!”
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 13, 2018
In this year’s snowboard cross – lower limb 1 impaired competition on Monday, Purdy qualified in round one of qualification with the fastest time, of 1:09.64. Combining the two qualifying rounds, Purdy sat in second place behind France’s Cecile Hernandez entering the elimination medal rounds.
In the one-one-one elimination medal rounds, Purdy took down Canada’s Michelle Salt in a matchup while Huckaby pulled off the seed-line upset of the No. 1 qualifier Hernandez. The two Americans met in the finals, with Huckaby edging Purdy in the one-on-one race.
“It’s so crazy. The sport has grown so much,” Purdy said. “Athletes like Brenna who are coming in and setting the bar and our sport is just amazing and taking off. I couldn’t be more proud to be here representing what we do.”
Frisco’s Minor wins bronze
Another local athlete who trains at Adaptive Action Sports with Purdy, Frisco resident Mike Minor, won the bronze medal in the debut Paralympic men’s snowboard cross – upper limb division race.
The Pennsylvania-native and former Leadville resident Minor recovered from a sudden fall in the snowboard cross – upper limb division semifinals to win his bronze medal one-on-one match on Monday versus Italy’s Jacopo Luchini.
“It’s been absolutely amazing,” the first-time, 27-year-old Olympian Minor said by phone Wednesday morning from South Korea. “I couldn’t be more pleased with my performance and being here to absorb the atmosphere.”
Minor is also scheduled to compete in the first-ever Paralympic men’s banked slalom snowboard – upper limb division competition. The three-run, time-trial-like competition is currently scheduled to take place live on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. local mountain time and can be seen at: http://www.stream.nbcolympics.com/2018-paralympics-snowboarding-mens-womens-banked-slalom.
The Summit Daily will have an extended feature on Minor’s snowboard cross bronze medal and the upcoming banked slalom event in Thursday’s print edition.
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