If you thought snowboard cross was gnarly check this out! The Paralympic Games saw the debut of para-snowboard cross today. Taking place earlier this morning (Friday 14th March) on the slopes of Sochi, 50 riders with lower limb impairments competed in both a men’s and women’s contest. It’s not quite the same set-up, as competitors complete the course individually, getting 3 runs and their fastest 2 laps taken forward.
Bibian Mentel of the Netherlands took the Gold in the women’s competition (at the ripe age of 41 no less), 9 seconds ahead of the silver medalist! Mentel has a pretty interesting route to Gold, she was set to compete at the 2002 Olympics but was diagnosed with cancer before, having her right lower leg amputated. She’s since gone on to win 6 national championships, fought hard to get snowboarding into the Paralympics and now has a Gold medal to her name! On the men’s side former pro-skater Evan Strong, took the Gold in the men’s. Another historical day for snowboarding and proving you shouldn’t let anything hold you back!
In other news, Brit Kelly Gallagher took Gold in the visually impaired super giant slalom, becoming the first British skier to win a Gold on the slopes. Another piece of British sporting history for the books alongside Jenny Jones’ Bronze.
All in all that’s some pretty inspirational stuff from Sochi.