Former Aztec resident wins silver at Winter Paralympic Games
Brittani Coury had lower leg amputated in 2011
FARMINGTON — A Durango, Colorado, woman with San Juan County roots won a silver medal in the Women’s Banked Slalom competition today at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Former Aztec resident Brittani Coury, 31, claimed her silver victory in her first Paralympic Games competition with a time of 59.87 after intense training to regain her form and skills following a leg amputation below the knee in June 2011.
"It felt good coming down, but it's so hard in my category because these girls are fast,” Coury said via a press release today from the Saranac Lake, New York-based agency GreatRange.
The win came after a fall on her first run.
"I was thinking about speed-checking and then I thought, 'No way, just hold on to it till the finish line'” Coury said. “And I did, and I ended up with a bit of road rash."
It all led up to an exceptional final run.
"It was incredible,” she said. “I just let it go full. I just wanted to be down at the bottom as fast as I could, and it actually paid off."
Coury used part of her time in the spotlight to give a shout-out to another athlete who won big in the games.
She said Dutch gold medalist Bibian Mentel-Spee, 45, is "good enough that she's been battling cancer for a full year and has two gold medals (at PyeongChang 2018). She's amazing. She’s an amazing athlete and person, and a representative of the sport. Everyone looks up to Bibian. She’s a rock star."
Spee “has won triple golds now (including snowboard cross at both Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018),” Coury’s statement said. “I just tried to race as fast as I could. I wasn't really thinking about where I was in order, I was just proud of my riding, that I stood it up and was fast."
Coury is part of the U.S. paralympics ski and snowboard team, which is managed by the U.S. Paralympics, which is a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, according to the website adaptivespirit.com. The committee acts as the national governing board for the alpine and Nordic ski teams, both founded in 2012, and the snowboard team, which began in 2014.
Events including ice hockey, alpine skiing and wheelchair curling will continue into Sunday.
As of Friday, the U.S. team led with 30 total medals: 11 golds, 12 silvers and seven bronzes. Neutral athletes ranked second with 20 medals, including eight golds and eight silvers, while Germany ranked third with 15 medals, including six golds and seven silvers, according to the official website.
There was a lot of hard work on the road to Coury’s final runs at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre today. The longtime skier began training again in December 2016 after years away from her sport following the amputation of her lower leg below the knee due to a severe and ultimately debilitating ankle injury.
After extensive consultation with doctors, and a series of operations, Coury chose the amputation as a means of ensuring she could be active and healthy while she was young.
An EMT and nurse, Coury’s hobbies include snowboarding, wake surfing, hiking, mountain biking and cheering on her nieces and nephews at their sporting events, the release said.
She went to nursing school and received her emergency medical services certification in the years following her surgery.
In October 2017, Coury told The Daily Times that getting an education in those fields also benefited her in regard to her training.
"I'm definitely smarter with my rehab," Coury said in October.
Coury competed in New Zealand last year on a course featuring steep terrain. She said during the October 2017 interview that the landscape there helped prepare her for what she'll face in South Korea.