COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, announced today that 10 athletes have been nominated to the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Team to compete in the inaugural snowboard cross competition at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, March 7-16. The nominations are subject to the approval of the USOC.
In May 2012, the International Paralympic Committee announced that men’s and women’s snowboard cross for athletes with lower limb impairments would debut at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games as a part of the alpine skiing program.
“This is a very exciting day to name our first-ever snowboarding team for the Paralympic Winter Games,” said Kevin Jardine, high performance director for U.S. Paralympics alpine skiing and snowboarding. “We have some of the best snowboarders in the world, and this group of 10 athletes is going to make history in Sochi. Some of these athletes have been training for this moment for years, while others found the sport more recently, but the common thread that runs throughout this team is just how dedicated and passionate they are. It is going to be an honor to work with this team in Sochi.”
The U.S. enters the Games with three of the top-ranked men in the world, with Evan Strong (Nevada City, Calif.) and Mike Shea (Castaic, Calif.) sharing the current No. 1 spot on the IPC world rankings, and Keith Gabel (Ogden, Utah) is tied for third with Carl Murphy of New Zealand. Shea won four of the five world cup competitions this season, while Strong won one and earned two silver medals.
On the women’s side, Amy Purdy (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Heidi Jo Duce (Ouray, Colo.) are tied for the No. 2 spot on the world rankings. Purdy and Duce, the national champion, have battled back-and-forth for podium positions throughout much of the season. Duce won two silver and two bronze medals in world cup competition this season, with Purdy winning two silvers and one bronze. American Nicole Roundy (Salt Lake City, Utah) is also at the top of the rankings, sitting in fifth.
Retired Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Tyler Burdick (Salt Lake City, Utah), who was wounded in Afghanistan in 2010, is the only military veteran on the team. Burdick is No. 4 on the U.S. list and ranked No. 12 in the world.
Other nominees to Team USA include: Cristina Albert (Denver, Colo.), Megan Harmon (Huntsville, Ala.) and Dan Monzo (Vernon, N.J.).
The men’s and women’s snowboard events will be held on March 14. Paralympic snowboarders compete in snowboard cross, an event where athletes race one-at-a-time down a course with features including turns, drops and berms. Each athlete completes three runs of the course with the combined time of their best two runs determining the final winner based on time.
The USOC and NBC Olympics have partnered to provide an unprecedented level of coverage for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. NBC and NBC Sports Network will combine to air 50 hours of television, starting on March 7 with the Opening Ceremony. It will be followed by daily coverage of all five Paralympic sports in the Sochi program, before the Games’ Closing Ceremony is broadcast on March 16. In addition to the unprecedented U.S. television coverage, the USOC and streaming sponsors BMW, BP, Citi, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Procter & Gamble and The Hartford will provide live online coverage at TeamUSA.org.
U.S. Paralympic Team nominees for alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, sled hockey, snowboarding and wheelchair curling will be finalized by the USOC no later than Feb. 21, the deadline to submit Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games delegation rosters to the International Paralympic Committee. Selection procedures and dates can be found at TeamUSA.org/ParalympicGames/.
2014 U.S. Paralympic Snowboarding Team nominees
Cristina Albert (Denver, Colo.)
Heidi Jo Duce (Ouray, Colo.)
Megan Harmon (Huntsville, Ala.)
Amy Purdy (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Nicole Roundy (Bountiful, Utah)
Tyler Burdick (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Keith Gabel (Ogden, Utah)
Dan Monzo (Vernon, N.J.)
Mike Shea (Castaic, Calif.)
Evan Strong (Nevada City, Calif.)
Press Release via teamusa.org/US-Paralympics