Skip to content

U.S. wins its first Sochi Paralympic gold, sweeps snowboarding event

Mar 14, 2014, 8:33 AM EST

Evan Strong Getty Images

The first U.S. gold medal of the Sochi Paralympics was historic, and it came on an eight-medal Friday for the American team in Sochi.

Evan Strong led a U.S. sweep of the podium in the debut of men’s para snowboard cross at the Paralympics. Strong was joined by silver medalist Michael Shea and bronze medalist Keith Gabel.

“Today is a dream. I’m ecstatic, I’m over the moon,” Strong said in a press release. “I don’t even feel like my feet are on the ground right now. Today this course is super fun, you can generate lots of speed but it was super challenging and very stressful.”

Strong, 27, is a rare Winter Paralympian who grew up in Hawaii.

He was on his way to a career as a professional skateboarder when, 10 days before he turned 18, he was struck by a drunk driver in a head-on collision while riding his motorcycle and had a partial amputation of his left leg.

He moved to Lake Tahoe in October 2007 and took up snowboarding. He excelled, winning gold in the Winter X Games, World Championships and adding two world overall titles. The Paralympic gold capped his collection.

Video: Evan Strong’s strong resolve

Amy Purdy added a U.S. bronze in the first women’s snowboard cross event. Purdy, a contestant on “The Amazing Race” in 2012, is set for “Dancing with the Stars” this season after the Paralympics.

“It’s a breath of fresh air to have done it,” Purdy said. “The whole journey has been amazing. Most of us have been here from the very beginning. This is a great debut to show what we’re capable of.”

The U.S. won four medals in Alpine skiing super combined events on Friday — Mark Bathum (silver, visually impaired), Heath Calhoun (silver, sitting), Danelle Umstead (bronze, visually impaired) and Stephanie Jallen (bronze, standing).

The U.S. now has 16 medals, surpassing its 2010 total of 13 with two days of competition left. Russia, with more than 50 medals, will win the total medal count.

Paralympic broadcast schedule

Latest Posts
  1. NBC Sports, Universal to air unprecedented U.S. ski, snowboard coverage this season

    Nov 26, 2014, 1:06 PM EST

    Ted Ligety Getty Images

    Full schedule of coverage across World Cups, Grand Prix events and World Championships.

  2. U.S. figure skaters officially bronze medalists, 50 years later

    Nov 26, 2014, 7:42 AM EST

    Vivian Joseph, Ronald Joseph Getty Images

    Sister-brother team had bronze medals, but the official results didn’t reflect that until Tuesday.

  3. Katie Ledecky faces decisions in 2015, 2016

    Nov 25, 2014, 10:46 AM EST

    Katie Ledecky Getty Images

    Scheduling conflicts, another new event?

  4. Rio Olympic commemorative coins to be issued

    Nov 25, 2014, 9:27 AM EST

    Rio Olympic coins

    Christ the Redeemer, Olympic motto honored on the coins.

  5. Michael Phelps back in the pool; Phelps, Ledecky win Golden Goggles

    Nov 24, 2014, 10:23 PM EST

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    Phelps is working toward 2015 goals, a North Baltimore official said.

  6. Pat Quinn, who coached Canada to gold in 2002, dies at 71

    Nov 24, 2014, 11:25 AM EST

    Pat Quinn Getty Images

    Canada won its first men’s hockey Olympic gold in 50 years under Quinn.

  7. Claressa Shields, Marlen Esparza win World Boxing Championships

    Nov 24, 2014, 10:11 AM EST

    Claressa Shields Getty Images

    Olympic champion Shields was named the tournament’s best overall boxer.

  8. Viktor Tikhonov, Soviet Union Olympic hockey coach, dies at 84

    Nov 24, 2014, 9:17 AM EST

    Viktor Tikhonov Getty Images

    Tikhonov led the Soviets in the Miracle on Ice game.

  9. Sun Yang failed drug test, served three-month ban

    Nov 24, 2014, 8:42 AM EST

    Sun Yang Getty Images

    Sun tested positive for a substance he could have used legally if he filed paperwork with anti-doping officials.

  10. Ted Ligety expected back shortly after wrist injury (video)

    Nov 23, 2014, 8:38 PM EST

    Ted Ligety

    Video of how he suffered the injury was posted on Ligety’s social media.

  11. Maksim Kovtun rallies to win Trophee Bompard (video); Grand Prix Final picture

    Nov 22, 2014, 4:24 PM EST

    Maksim Kovtun Getty Images

    It’s unlikely a U.S. man will qualify for the Grand Prix Final.

  12. Renaud Lavillenie, Valerie Adams win IAAF Athlete of the Year awards

    Nov 21, 2014, 3:10 PM EST

    Renaud Lavillenie Getty Images

    This year’s winners came from unprecedented nations and events.

  13. Ashley Wagner trails, Denis Ten leads at Trophee Bompard (video)

    Nov 21, 2014, 2:24 PM EST

    Ashley Wagner AP

    Wagner could match a Michelle Kwan feat at the French event.

  14. Angelina Jolie showed Louis Zamperini scenes of ‘Unbroken’ on hospital bed

    Nov 21, 2014, 8:59 AM EST

    Angelina Jolie, Louis Zamperini AP

    “Unbroken” film about Olympian and World War II hero comes out on Christmas.

  15. Table tennis player shoves over referee after loss (video)

    Nov 20, 2014, 5:34 PM EST

    Table Tennis

    Young Dmitry Melnichenko lost the match, then lost his cool.

  16. Joss Christensen becomes ‘mountain man’ since Sochi Olympics

    Nov 20, 2014, 4:57 PM EST

    Joss Christensen Getty Images

    Olympic ski slopestyle champion uses a chainsaw every day.