BEIJING — Salt Lake City’s Brenna Huckaby added a bronze to her medals collection of two golds from 2018 in Para Snowboarding on Sunday at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games. She rides for Snowbird’s Team Utah.
Her journey to this third place has had as many twists, turns, gaps and obstacles as the long Snowboard Cross course down which she raced three athletes. International Paralympic Committee (IPC) rules dictate that there must be sufficient participation levels to contest an event, at all, for any sport discipline. Huckaby had no other above-the-knee amputee athletes enter, thus the IPC eliminated her category. After a multi-year-long paperwork appeal, she was allowed to compete up a category, still beating those competitors for this bronze.
Getting to Beijing was only half the battle as Huckaby was disqualified (DSQ) out of her first of two qualification chance runs on Saturday, going wide out of the course. Then, through the quarter and semi-finals, her momentum timing was late over an early-in-the-course jump requiring a Herculean come-from-behind effort to advance to the Finals.
In the Finals, there was a protest due to a fall from Huckaby involving a contact collision with another skier who ended up in fourth. The entire, four-year-long journey was suspensefully prolonged as her husband and two young daughters at the late-night watch party in Salt Lake City all awaited the jury’s video review and subsequent awarding of the bronze medal to Huckaby.
Atop the podium of those Finals was France with the gold and Canada taking silver.
The whole drama of the 26-year-old, Sandy, Utah, Jordan High School graduate, originally from Louisianna, was all narrated by Park City’s Trace Worthington.
Huckaby began her para snowboard career at Park City’s National Ability Center after losing her leg from cancer.
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If they gave out medals for Paralympic athletes rooting for their competitors, Brittani Coury would have also added one to her collection. The Millcreek, Utah rider who’s on Team Citi, didn’t advance into the Snowboard Cross Finals in Beijing but that didn’t stop her from boisterously saying, “Go Team Utah!” in the finish coral for her teammate/competitor Huckaby even then giving a genuine shout out for another competitor representing Canada with a, “Go North America!”
Huckaby and Coury will compete in the Banked Slalom event later in the week.