Written by Shannon Marie Quirk
1998 set precedent for snowboarders worldwide when it landed a spot as an Olympic sport. Over ten years later, the fight today is by a select group of athletes trying to prove their worthiness of a medal, in the Paralympics. Over 600 million people worldwide struggle with physical disabilities — it is the most courageous that adapt to a physical loss and gain strength with a reshaped life. That’s why adaptive snowboarders are now fighting to make snowboarding an official Paralympic sport. Many pro snowboarders agree:
“I think its time to get them in the Olympics, because they have so much talent, and that’s their dream,” Hannah Teter exclaimed, who has inspired many as an Olympian snowboarder for the US elite.
US Olympian snowboarder, Kelly Clark, also supports the initiative for the sports’ acceptance in Sochi, Russia in the 2014 games, and respects the strength of adaptive riders. She agrees that its about time to see snowboarding included. The sport has come a long way, now a 2.5 billion dollar a year industry, gaining the highest ratings during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Just as the Olympics are about progression, breaking records, and high performance, the Paralympics have the power to inspire. Who wouldn’t be inspired by an amputee pulling around a front-360?
Mike Shea, an adaptive snowboarder with dreams of someday proudly wearing a medal around his neck, thinks that riders like him are truly “paving the way for adaptive athletes” to live a healthy lifestyle and focus their energy on progression. For him and many others, sports training engages them in a way they weren’t sure possible again. Adaptive snowboarder, Nicole Roundy, impressed hundreds of fans when she participated in the 2010 Burton U.S. Open for Women’s Halfpipe with a prostetic leg. These dedicated riders are survivors, doing what they love to do and fighting that much harder for it.
You can help adaptive snowboarders reach their goals as Paralympic athletes in the 2014 Paralympic Games. Check out this video, and more info at www.adaptivesnow.org.