COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. ― The United States Olympic Committee today announced that U.S. Paralympics Snowboard National Champions Evan Strong (Nevada City, Calif.) and Heidi Jo Duce (Ouray, Colo.) and nine other athletes are nominated for the 2013-14 U.S. Paralympics Snowboard National Team, which is the first-ever national team in the sport.
In May 2012, the International Paralympic Committee announced that snowboard cross will be included in the alpine skiing program at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, March 7-16, in Russia. The Paralympic competition is open to men and women with lower limb impairments.
“As we look toward the start of the Paralympic Winter Games in 10 months, the nomination of these athletes to the inaugural U.S. Paralympics Snowboard National Team marks a significant step for the program and the sport,” said Kevin Jardine, USOC high performance director for Paralympic alpine skiing and snowboarding. “A year ago, there was very little opportunity for Paralympic snowboarders, and now there is chance for a Paralympic gold medal. Our national team athletes are among the world’s best and are up to the challenge of medaling in Sochi.”
Joining Strong and Duce are nominees Christina Albert (Denver, Colo.), Tyler Burdick (Salt Lake City, Utah), Keith Gabel (Ogden, Utah), Lucas Grossi (Billings, Mont.), Amy Purdy (Las Vegas, Nev.), Nicole Roundy (Bountiful, Utah) and Mike Shea (Castaic, Calif.), all who have lower limb impairments, and Joseph Chandler (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Marc Dervaes (West Chester, Pa.), who have upper limb impairments.
“There are no words to describe what it feels like to be nominated for the first-ever U.S. Paralympics Snowboard National Team,” said Duce, who won two bronze medals on the 2012-13 International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing Snowboard World Cup circuit before taking the inaugural national crown. “I am stoked to be a part of history with so many great athletes. While we will always be known as trailblazers, I hope that we are remembered not just for being a part of the national team but for inspiring other amputees to get involved in snowboarding.”