Millcreek snowboarder Brenna Huckaby knows her 2-year-old daughter is too young now to understand what it all means. Still, Huckaby hopes one day her little girl will see her mother’s races at the Pyeongchang Paralympics as a lesson in perseverance.
And, as of Monday, it’s a lesson lined with gold.
Huckaby, 22, kicked off her first Paralympic Games with a gold medal in the women’s snowboard-cross.
“It’s incredible,” Huckaby said. “In the start gate I said to myself, ‘For Lilah,’ because that is one of the main reasons … and pushing through trying times to show her that she can do anything she wants. It was hard today but I just reminded myself why I do this and it’s for her and that helped.”
“It was such a trying and intense day and to be able to walk away successful is huge,” she said.
Ogden’s Keith Gabel won a silver medal in the men’s snowboard-cross event. Gabel, who lost his foot as the result of an industrial accident, is competing in his second Paralympics.
“It was intense,” he said. “There’s a lot going on up top, a lot going on that we really didn’t have that much control over — a lot of hurry up and wait. But that’s kind of typical of competitions. The right things go wrong, there’s stuff you can control, things you can’t, so I try not to focus on the stuff that I can’t. I try to go out there and have a good time.”
In total, Team USA won six Paralympic snowboarding medals Monday.
TEAM USA PARALYMPIC SNOWBOARD-CROSS RESULTS
First • Brenna Huckaby, Salt Lake City, women’s LL1; Mike Schultz, St. Cloud, Minn., men’s LL1
Second • Keith Gabel, Ogden, men’s LL2; Amy Purdy, Silverthorne, Colo., women’s LL1
Third • Noah Elliott, St. Louis, men’s LL1; Mike Minor, Waymart, Penn., men’s UL
Fourth • Evan Strong, Maui, Hawaii, men’s LL2