How Skateboarding Saved Brittani Coury

US Paralympic snowboarder Brittani Coury talks about growing up with gender discrimination and how snowboarding saved her life.

March 2022 marks a historic moment for women in sports: March is Women’s History Month, and 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

This is also the month that the 2022 Paralympic Games take place in Beijing, which runs from March 3 to March 14. One of the athletes in attendance was Team USA Brittani Courya Paralympic skier who participated in the Banked Slalom and Snowboardcross events.

A silver medalist at PyeongChang 2018, the 35-year-old ski champion was a member of Team Citi as part of them #StareAtGreatness campaign.

The campaign seeks to “help change the perception of people with disabilities”, wanting to change the conversation about staring at athletes with disabilities. Staring doesn’t have to have a negative connotation when it comes to being a world-class Paralympic athlete and admiring what they do. According to Citi, gazing at greatness is “critical to creating an inclusive society” and there is more to the Citi team than just eye responsiveness.

Behind every athlete is their story, and Brittani’s story is the story of climbing an arduous battle to win at the finish line. Brittani fought against COVID like a registered nurseworking on the front lines to give back to the community that supported her Paralympic aspirations.

But before Brittani beamed as a proud RN and Paralympic medalist, she endured a tough upbringing with her brother and sister in Aztec, NM. Growing up in what she describes as a “very anti-woman family,” Brittani has reflected on her narcissistic journey the board way. On the quiet mountain snows, Brittani’s mind was focused on balancing and gliding in the snow rather than feeling self-conscious. “It was a liberating place for me,” she said.

When she found her identity as the “skateboard girl,” Brittani became who she was, but a skiing accident in 2003 caused her to develop a bone spur in her right ankle. She had her ankle amputated in 2006, but she learned to adapt to snowboarding and continued to board the train as an adult.

Here’s Brittani’s story of how snowboarding saved her life and made her place as a woman in the world.

BEIJING, CHINA – MARCH 11: Brittani Coury of Team USA competes in the women’s SB-LL2 snowboard snowboard on day seven of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Zhangjiakou Genting Snow Park on September 11 March 11, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang / Getty Images)

“I grew up in an anti-woman family. My mother had no problem telling me from an early age that she only wanted a son. I was raised on a dump and a farm and homeschooled, so I kept trying to get my mother’s approval for my love. But that really never happened just because I wasn’t born a boy, and because of that, I really had very low self-esteem, had so many insecurities and feelings… that I wasn’t worth anything. chief. I feel like a piece of trash. Pretty much my whole [time] grow up.

I said that girls can’t go to school, girls can’t travel. All I was told were the limitations of our role compared to my brother, who had the opportunity to do everything. And so when I started skiing, it was a liberating place for me. It’s a place where I can get rid of my thoughts that I’m worthless or that I don’t deserve to be human. The first time I put the snowboard on my feet, it felt liberated, just being in nature and focusing on staying upright on the snowboard – I don’t think I’m not strong enough healthy or how I didn’t want to or how much I didn’t do. cannot compare with my brother or other men.

I remember in high school, there was a girl, and I said, ‘Hey, I’m Brittani Coury,’ and she said, ‘Oh, you’re the skater girl,’ and I remember that association was known. for something as positive as being a good girl skiing. It changed my life because I finally had something of value that I was worth, and snowboarding gave me that. And so I went after it and snowboarded as much as I could because I went from having no self-esteem and so many inadequacies to being associated with a snowboarding girl who could keep up with the boys and it just got me addicted and it gave me a positive self esteem.

And throughout this whole process, even losing my foot and all that, snowboarding… people don’t understand how I can ski on the ankle that I used to, but but I had a lot of painful emotions, and skiing took that painful emotion away, and so the physical pain I was feeling from my ankle masked that emotional pain. I can stop the physical pain, because I can deal with the physical pain, but I can’t deal with the emotional pain. And so snowboarding has completely taken that away.

For me, I think it’s really important for teenage girls or boys or anyone to have this negative association: the color of their skin, the sex they were born with — and me. there’s a gap in your teeth — your eye color, you can’t change that. But if you can find something that fills that void, I think that’s incredibly important in our culture.

I’ve been given a grandson, and for me, as an aunt, I hope that they… I walk around with force and I hold my head with pride, and I hope that you feel Seeing all these things, if any, they can have positive self-esteem, and know that they have value and worth in this world.

If it weren’t for skateboarding, I really don’t know where I would be. I honestly don’t know if I’m still here. Snowboarding saved my life and gave me the sense of identity that comes with being a woman. And I just love being a woman in this sport. Surprise.”

BEIJING, CHINA – March 11: Gold medalists Brenna Huckaby of Team USA (R) and Brittani Coury of Team USA (L) react after competing in the SB-LL2 snowboarding event. women’s competition during day seven of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Zhangjiakou Genting Snow Park on March 11, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang / Getty Images)

The road to Beijing wasn’t easy: Brittani overcame multiple injuries while preparing for the Olympics, and she picked up one the day before the Banked Slalom event. However, she still competed, placing fifth in Snowboardcross and ninth in Banked Slalom. Though her dream is to be on the podium with her best friend, 2022 gold and silver medalist Brenna Huckaby, Brittani will go home with her head held high to fight through the race.

Throughout her life, people have looked at Brittani and tried to impose their own limits on her. Brittani doesn’t allow them.

“Your limitations are your own reality — I don’t consider myself disabled,” she says.

“I would also be stared at as a nurse, but again that’s why I love Staring at Greatness. Because yes, stare at me. I am saving lives and I am also a Paralympic athlete. ”

Why We Play tells stories about the power of sport to bring us together, overcome obstacles, make positive change and reach everyone. Read more this. How Skateboarding Saved Brittani Coury

John Verrall

John Verrall is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. John Verrall joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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