‘I’m not going to win 3rd place’: Steamboat’s Noah Elliott a medal favorite at the 2022 Paralympic Games
The most recent Winter Olympics might have concluded, but winter sports action isn’t over. The Paralympic Games take place Friday, March 4, through Sunday, March 13, and a Steamboat Springs para snowboarder is hoping to bring home some hardware.
Noah Elliott, who can now call himself a two-time Olympian, is in Beijing and looking to match or improve upon his gold and bronze medals from Pyeongchang in 2018. He won banked slalom in his Olympic debut and took bronze in snowboard cross.
Four years ago, Elliott was still new to the sport of para snowboarding. He was introduced to snowboarding through Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports during a camp for kids with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that led to the amputation of his left leg. Elliott was so inspired by his time at STARS that he moved to Steamboat Springs to work for them in 2019. However, he left that job this winter after struggling to find a comfortable work-life balance.
“It’s something that everybody struggles with, I feel like. Especially us specifically being elite-level athletes and also having families, we struggle more than regular people because we’re away from family for so long,” Elliott said.
Finding that balance is important to Elliott, who has an eight-year-old daughter named Skylar waiting for him at home in Hayden.
Stepping away from STARS was a tough decision for Elliott, but he was able to focus more on competition and spend more time with friends and family when he had time at home.
Elliott has won most events he’s competed in this winter, including the men’s dual banked slalom title at the 2021 World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, in January.
He’s won multiple banked slalom events as well, so he’s a favorite for a medal in both events.
“Realistically, I think I definitely have medal potential,” Elliott said. “And I’m not going to win third place.”
However, Elliott’s road to gold got a little bit harder a little over a month ago. The day before World Championships, he was having some prosthetic issues, and his leg felt sweaty. Upon taking his prosthetic off, he realized he had blood from the prosthetic rubbing against a spot on his leg.
Elliott won the dual banked slalom, but took time off to try to fix the issue with his leg. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to sort out the situation, but he’s pushing through and competing despite the issue.
“I feel like I have to,” Elliott said. “I worked so hard leading into this year to step away from it because of something — I don’t think it’s the right call. I definitely have to push through, and the way I look at it is I’ll be able to get it fixed afterwards anyway. It’s not any issue. It’s just push through now and get the time to recover and be set.”
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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