The Olympic spirit is still alive and well for athletes competing in South Korea.
The 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympics begin Thursday and six Utahns will participate in it as a part of the United States’ 74-person roster of athletes and guides.
Sadie DeBaun, of Park City, an Alpine skiing guide; Keith Gabel, of Ogden, competing in snowboard-cross; Brenna Huckaby, a Jordan High alumna competing in snowboard-cross and banked slalom; Nicole Roundy, of Salt Lake City, competing in snowboard-cross; Danelle Umstead, of Park City, competing in Alpine skiing; and Rob Umstead, of Park City, an Alpine skiing guide, are among the team.
DeBaun, a Park City native and resident, is participating in her first Paralympics as a guide, according to the Team USA website.
Gabel, a Ben Lomond High graduate, won a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games. He has four siblings; is married; has hidden talents that include juggling and mimicking various animal sounds; and, enjoys being involved in humanitarian projects and philanthropy work.
Huckaby, a 2014 graduate of Jordan High School and Baton Rouge, Louisiana native, is competing in her first Paralympics. She began her love of sports with gymnastics when she was young. She attacked snowboarding with the same passion she did with gymnastics, having won several World Championship medals over recent years. Her favorite TV show is Shameless and she is passionate about culinary arts.
On Facebook Huckaby posted: “I’m just a cancer-surviving mom trying to finish her coffee before competing in Peyongchang 2018 Winter Paralympic games. Follow my journey and I promise it won’t suck!”
Roundy is competing in her third Paralympic Games. The name Nicole means “victorious” and perhaps that is what has driven her to excel. In 2006, she became the first above-knee amputee to compete in para-snowboarding. Nicole’s passion does not stop on the snow. In 2012, she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and pursued a seasonal career in the outdoor industry. She finished eighth in the 2014 snowboard-cross event in Sochi, Russia. She has five siblings, three sisters and two brothers, she credits Dutch para-snowboarder, Bibian Mentel as the most influential person in her career, and names U.S. tennis player, Billie Jean King as her idol.
The Umsteads are the only married couple on the team, according to the Team USA website. Both are participating in their third consecutive Winter Paralympics. Danelle Umstead, who competes in the visually-impaired classification, has won three bronze medals since 2010. Rob Umstead has worked as her guide since 2008.
The U.S. team has athletes competing in alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, sled hockey, snowboarding, and wheelchair curling. The Games will be held from Thursday through March 18 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. NBC Olympics will present unprecedented coverage of the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 this March, including 94 hours on television, which nearly doubles coverage of Sochi 2014. In all, NBC Olympics will present more than 250 hours of coverage across NBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app.