The 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, wrapped up on Sunday, March 16, with the men’s USA snowboarding team sweeping the first-ever para-snowboarding event, and some local athletes bringing home medals.
Evan Strong, Mike Shea, and Keith Gabel, all of Team USA, claimed gold, silver, and bronze medals respectively in the first-ever men’s para-snowboard cross event held at the Winter Paralympics.
The triple win marks the first American sweep in a Parlaympic Winter Games in 12 years, and the men’s medal sweep in U.S. history.
Not only did the men’s snowboard team dominate the para-snowboard cross competition, but Amy Purdy of the women’s snowboard team for Team USA claimed a bronze medal in the first women’s para-snowboard cross.
The USA men’s sledge hockey team beat out the Russian Federation team for the gold medal by scoring one point and not allowing any goals for the Russian team. The sledge hockey gold medal makes the Team USA sledge hockey team three-time Paralympic champions.
Team USA also claimed two silver medals and one bronze medal in the cross-country races during the Paralympics with Oksana Masters winning one silver and one bronze and Tatyana McFadden winning a silver medal.
Both Masters and McFadden trained with the local National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park before making their way to Sochi.
On the downhill skiing side of the Paralympics, Team USA took home a total of 14 medals, chipping in to the total count of 18 medals.
Local athletes claimed a number of those medals, including Danelle Umstead, a visually impaired skier who lives in Winter Park with her husband and guide Rob. Umstead took home the bronze medal in women’s super combined.
Alana Nichols, another local athlete, claimed the silver medal in women’s downhill before falling during another competition and taking herself out of the running for more medals.
Allison Jones, a Colorado native, finished in fourth place in the women’s super combined standing event, behind Stephanie Jallen who took the bronze medal for the competition.
Jallen also took the bronze medal in the women’s Super-G standing event.
Laurie Stephens added to Team USA’s medal total by taking two bronze medals. One in the women’s super combined sitting competition and one in the women’s downhill sitting event.
Allison Jones claimed a bronze medal in the women’s downhill standing event and Mark Bathum brought home two silver medals for men’s Super-G visually impaired and men’s super combined visually impaired.
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334