Swifty's Winter Paralympic Journey
I am the first and at the moment the only competing double above knee amputee snowboarder in the world.
I am trying to raise funding for my training and preparations for the 2018 Winter Paralympics in South Korea.
Any funding I can raise through GoFundMe will go towards my costs in this endeavour helping me to afford my travel, accommodation, coaching and equipment.
Training has already begun and my competions start this season in mid November with the European Championships followed the next day by the Worlds. The rest of the season is given over to training and competions worldwide and this is repeated again in the '17-'18 season, after summer training camps, culminating in the Paralympics in March 2018.
I became an amputee in 1991 whilst serving in HM Forces and since then have challenged myself in many different sports and activities often not taking no for an answer when I have been told I wouldn't be able to do something. Well snowboarding as part of the GB Paralympic Team was one of those things and you will be able to keep up with my progression and ultimately my participation in the 2018 Winter Games through Facebook and Twitter and other media platforms. I have every intention and am determined to get there, despite the nay sayers, and with your help and support I will.
Many Thanks for your contribution.
We spent the first week at a place called High 1 which served us well as a training base allowing us to acclimatise and attempt to get over the jetlag. We had time on the piste and in the park and half pipe, although most of the snow is manmade we managed to get in some valuable training.
The second week we moved 2hrs north to Pyoengchang itself and to the resort of Yong Pong where we got a peek at the developing and impressive Olympic / Paralympic site. Training began the next day at Jeongseon and although it’s not really my event I had a few practice runs on the SBX coarse with a view to potentially entering in that comp. After several ‘failed’ attempts on a couple of the more difficult obstacles Si and I decided that I’d be better off saving my backside for the Banked Slalom which I did and after a day of training entered the BSL competition. As before in La Molina the faster guys in the LL1 category dominated and I was really encouraged to close the time gap on the leaders with 3 clear runs, each one progressively faster than the last. Once again, I improved on my last race and although I have a way to go yet my coach Si was happy with the progression I made.
We are off to the ‘Brits’ next in Laax, Switzerland and although it’s not strictly part of our season and circuit we are all looking forward to it and competing against able bodied riders.
Thanks to all of you for all of your support and encouragement it means so much and helps to push me through the tougher times.
All the very best for now
Many thanks also to Blesma, The Limbless Veterans Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team - AFPST Davinci Mobility Forcefield Body Armour@bluetomato @thedriveproject
Dupraz snowboards Shermaynes Engineering @bespokeprosthetics&orthotics Leonardo MW Ltd
British Parasnowsport @barlowtrailers
Everyone from my gofundme page for all of your support, encouragement and donations
#snowboarding #stubai #britishparasnowsports #paralympics #snowsport#legless #snowboardbindings #burton #sweethelmets #paraathlete #amputee #legless #prosthesis #roadtopyeongchang #paralympics2018 #southkorea #koreanairlines
www.summitdaily.com, #othwzg #othwzg3 @zgriff @sumcosports
As you all know Big White, Canada was a huge success for the team and for me personally in that I saw a significant improvement in my riding and my times reflected that.
We flew back to the UK then Owen and I had a little less than 48 hrs. before we had to get ourselves over to La Molina in Spain for another World Cup Event in both the Snowboard Cross and the Banked Slalom. Once again, I was not really supposed to be attempting the SBX but after a close inspection of the course we saw there were no kickers so Owen and I and agreed that it would be a good idea to ‘have a go’ if only for experiential purposes. So, I entered and although I did not make it through to the heats my two timed runs were respectable and a vast improvement on previous runs. The next day was the 2nd day of SBX and after a couple of practice runs that allowed Owen and I to iron out some speed issues I had another go and this time made it through to the heats…. I was proper chuffed although I was beaten by one of our friends from the US Team, Mark Mann who is pretty fast and a great rider.
The next two days were given over to the Banked Slalom event and in part a very similar coarse to one in Big White. I struggled with two particular turns on this coarse but with some great advice from the Dutch coaches Frank Germann and Bell Berghuis and the US Team coach Pat Holland I managed to clean them up a bit and produce decent times on both days at one point slicing off 13 seconds and the next day 2 seconds off that giving me a 6th place out of the 10 in my category. La Molina was a great week and I feel that I achieved plenty at my level. There was a fantastic atmosphere and a great sense of camaraderie throughout the competition amongst all the competing nations, I would like to say a massive thank you and congratulations to the organisers and the resort staff for putting on such a memorable competition.
Next stop is Pyoengchang, South Korea for the World Cup Test Event and competition, I will endeavour to keep you all up to speed on my progress as I go but will certainly post another update on my return.
As always, many many thanks to you all for your support, encouragement and donations it is appreciated enormously.
All the best for now
However, the course looked like so much fun and the kicker at the end looked ‘doable’ to me so I asked if it was possible to enter and through my coach Si Nicholson the event organisers were happy for me to have a go, so I entered.
Although the kicker proved to be a ‘bit of a pain’ I gained some respectable times on my two qualifying runs on all three days and just as importantly gained more experience in competition whilst adding some vital points towards my Paralympic goal.
James Barnes-Miller came second in his category, Upper Limb (UL) which was a great result for his first SBX event. Owen Pick smashed it and came forth in the Lower Limb 1 (LL1) category and Ben Moore did an outstanding job coming forth in UL fortunately before having a disagreement with one of the berms on the course resulting in him looking like a panda, he has recovered and is back on snow. All said and done the ‘Brits’ did a great job and most importantly the coach, Si, is over the moon with our performance.
We are now up in Big White in British Columbia, Canada and the rest of the team are preparing to compete in the World Cup again on a fantastic SBX course that unfortunately is not suitable for anyone without knees, so I’m joining in with the training and all is going well with great snow and blue skies. I will do my best to get another update out at the end of this trip and before we fly out to La Molina in Spain for more comps on the 15th-18th Feb.
Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement.
Just back from a fantastic trip to Breckenridge, Colorado. Snow and weather conditions were just about perfect which meant Izzy (my daughter) and I were on the hill everyday battling with the altitude and jet lag for the first few days to be honest.
Took the opportunity to get some serious training done even though we were there for a holiday (NO gofundme money was used for this trip)
We managed to do all 5 peaks at Breck and had a few runs from the top as well 12,800 ft.... on nearly empty pistes in the week prior to Christmas, after that it got a wee bit busy.
All good preparation for the coming year with plenty of training and competitions coming up in Big White, BC Canada, New Zealand/Australia and Europe leading to the Paralympics in March 2018.
I think you are all able to see that we are nearly at the 8K point and I'd like to take this opportunity to once again thank you all for your encouragement, support and donations and for sharing this page and my FB pages.
A huge thank you to you all and I hope you all have a fantastic New Year
All the very best for now
The link below is for a short clip made by Zach Griffin for local media
Many thanks also to Blesma, The Limbless Veterans Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team - AFPST @davinchiwheelchairs @forcefield @bluetomato @thedriveproject @donek
Dupraz snowboards Shermaynes Engineering@bespokeprosthetics&orthotics,
#snowboarding #stubai #britishparasnowsports #paralympics #snowsport#legless #snowboardbindings #burton #sweethelmets #paraathelete#roadtopyeongchang #amputee #legless #prosthesis
www.summitdaily.com, #othwzg #othwzg3 ZGriff @zgriff @sumcosports