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Paralympic Snowboard Champions Strike Double Gold At World Cup In Austria

by Stephen Kerr

Evan Strong competes at the Paralympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018 on March 16, 2018.

 

Before this past weekend, the previous world cup banked slalom race saw U.S. Para snowboarders collect 16 medals and a podium sweep during the season opener in Landgraaf, Netherlands.
After winning five medals in the first snowboardcross world cup in Pyha, Finland, the weekend of Dec. 11, the team set its sights on Hochfuegen, Austria, for another banked slalom event the following weekend. The riders were not disappointed.
Brooms didn’t come in to play this time around, but it was still an impressive showing. Paralympic gold medalists Noah Elliott, Evan Strong and Brenna Huckaby each won two gold medals. Garrett Geros picked up a silver and a bronze, Paralympic medalist Brittani Coury won silver and Dennae Russell captured a couple of bronze medals.
Strong, going for his third Paralympic Winter Games after taking a couple of years off, pulled out his best Britney Spears reference to describe the success of his weekend.
“Oops… I did it again,” he wrote on Instagram. “2 to make it true! I’m stoked to bring home the back to back win.”

 

 


Team USA got off to a fast start on the first day as Elliott, Strong and Huckaby each captured gold. Elliott won in men’s LL1, Strong in men’s LL2, and Huckaby in the non-Paralympic women’s LL1.


Geros picked up a silver medal in men’s LL2 behind Strong, while Coury took silver in women’s LL2 behind Dutch rider Lisa Bunschoten, who has yet to lose a race in banked slalom so far this season.


Russell rounded out the medal count on Day 1 by taking the bronze in women’s LL1 behind Huckaby and Ellen Walther of Switzerland.


Coury, who won silver in banked slalom at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, was especially pleased with her second run.


“It was a battle after run one with three of us super close, but I was able to shave an additional second off on my last run,” she wrote on Instagram. “Congrats @lisabunschoten finishing first and @boarding_renske on her bronze finish.”

 

 


The gold kept coming on Day 2, with Elliott (men’s LL1), Strong (men’s LL2), and Huckaby (women’s LL1) each picking up their second gold medal of the weekend. Geros took the bronze in men’s LL2 behind Strong and Russia’s Vsevolod Shcheglov, and Russell added a second bronze in women’s LL1, again finishing behind Huckaby and Walther.


Huckaby managed to win her second gold despite getting a splinter in her leg before her second run.


For Geros, who is in his fourth season of international competition, it was his first time on a podium in a world cup race. He was clearly having the time of his life, yelling and waving at people as he came out of the start gate.


“I didn’t care about results today, I was just gonna have a blast on course,” the 22-year-old Geros told World Para Snow Sports. “I didn’t have a worry in the world about my results. I was just having fun on my snowboard.”


Through three world cup events this season, Team USA has a total of 32 medals, with 27 coming in banked slalom and five in snowboardcross. The athletes head home to enjoy the holidays before the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, in January.

Stephen Kerr is a freelance journalist and newsletter publisher based in Austin, Texas. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. You can follow him on Twitter @smkwriter1.
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