This is why you might recognize snowboarder Brenna Huckaby during the 2018 Paralympics
Has anyone else been experiencing some serious Olympics withdrawal since the 2018 Winter Games ended last week? If so, that will end soon: The 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang begin on Friday, March 9th, and we couldn’t be more ready to see who’s going to take home the gold this time around. As usual, the Paralympics feature tons of amazing athletes you won’t want to miss. If you’re into snowboarding, you’ll definitely want to watch out for paralympic snowboarder Brenna Huckaby, one of five female snowboarders on Team USA.
This is Huckaby’s first time at the Paralympics — and we’re betting it isn’t going to be her last. At just 20 years old, she’s a three-time gold medalist at the World Championships, scoring gold for snowboard-cross and banked slalom in 2017, and for snowboard-cross in 2015.
It might seem like Huckaby was born to be a snowboarder, but she actually started off her athletic career as a gymnast when she was young.
In 2010, though, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of cancer, which led to the amputation of her right leg. A month after her surgery, Huckaby got her first prosthetic leg and started snowboarding. She began competing in 2013, and took a break from the sport in 2016 when she gave birth to her daughter, Lilah. She quickly rebounded and is now on her way to South Korea for her first Paralympics games.
One thing that makes Huckaby stand out from the other athletes? She’s the first Paralympian to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. Huckaby made her debut in the magazine this year, something she hopes is seen as body-positivity. She told Sports Illustrated Swim,
"I see it as an opportunity to inspire others. It’s very rare, if ever, you see a woman with a disability pose in sexy swimsuits. I want to help change the stigma behind disabilities. I want other women, regardless of their body, to know they are powerful and sexy."
Huckaby is determined to live her best life, on the slopes and off. In an interview with NBC, she revealed that despite the amputation, she is still at risk for leukemia and that “every day is a worry that it will come back.” Huckaby is currently engaged to Tristan Clegg and whenever she isn’t training for snowboarding, she teaches gymnastics. Her social media pages are full of photos of her adorable daughter, Lilah, and her adventures out on the mountain.
You can watch out for Huckaby at the Paralympics, where she’ll be competing in snowboarding-cross and banked slalmon.
Huckaby told NBC that French snowboarder Cecile Hernandez is her “biggest rival,” so that friendly competition is something to keep in mind as you watch.
Huckaby has shown a lot of promise in her sport. It’s beyond inspiring to hear her story and to see that, even with her late start at snowboarding, she managed to become this good. We can’t wait to see how the snowboarder does out there.