Men’s Podium Sweep Highlights U.S. Performance At Para Snowboarding World Cup
by Todd Kortemeier
(L-R) Keiji Okamoto (Japan), Keith Gabel and Zach Miller pose after the men's SB-LL2 final at the 2021 Para Snowboard World Cup on Nov. 30, 2021 in Landgraaf, Netherlands.
Picking up right where he left off from the 2020-21 Para snowboarding world cup season when he swept the final two events, Paralympian Keith Gabel nabbed his first gold medal in the 2021-22 world cup opener Monday in Landgraaf, Netherlands.
Gabel then added a bronze medal on Tuesday as part of a U.S. men’s podium sweep in men’s banked slalom LL2 behind Zach Miller in first and Paralympian Evan Strong in second. Those were just a few of the 16 medals won by Team USA over two days in Landgraaf, with Gabel and Miller bringing home the two golds. The team’s strong performance came as no surprise to Gabel, a two-time Paralympic medalist.
“It’s no secret that we have a large, strong team and are always developing athletes that turn out great results,” Gabel said to World Para Snowboard. “I’ve been on this team for a long time now so to stay at the top of the game, I always have to be adapting and evolving, as well as willing to try new things.”
Gabel and Miller swapped positions on the podium from Monday, with each athlete taking home a gold and a bronze. They weren’t the only men to pick up two medals, as Paralympic gold medalist Mike Schultz picked up two silver medals in SB-LL1. Fellow Paralympic champ Noah Elliott was right behind him with a pair of bronze medals. In men’s SB-UL, Paralympic gold medalist Mike Minor also earned two bronze medals.
On the women’s side, two-time Paralympic gold medalist Brenna Huckaby won two silver medals in the non-Paralympic SB-LL1 class. In the non-Paralympic SB-UL, Kiana Clay earned a pair of bronze medals.
The world cup circuit moves to Finland Dec. 10-12 for the first snowboardcross action of the year with two events for both men and women.