A two-time national champion in snowboarding and a gold-medal winner with the Canadian National Amputee Hockey Team, Curt Minard, has been chosen to represent his country as a Paralympian in PyeongChang, South Korea, coming up in March.
Born and raised in Weyburn, graduating from the Weyburn Comp in 1997, Minard became well-known as a motivational speaker and a work safety speaker after recovering from an electrical injury in 2008 when he was electrocuted on the job and he lost his hands.
Once he was on the road to recovery, part of that journey involved trying out for hockey, as this was the sport that was his top passion as an athlete, and he made the national Paralympic hockey team. Minard went on with the team to win gold for Canada in Finland in 2012.
A hard second for his favourite sport was snowboarding, and he approached Canada Snowboard about becoming involved in the sport as an amputee. Once he got involved with the sport, he quickly rose up in the ranks of para-athletes, and ended up being the Canadian national champion two years in a row. He also finished last year ranked sixth overall in the world after a full season on the World Cup circuit.
The Paralympics will run from March 8-18, and the event days for Minard are Monday, March 12 for Snowboardcross, Friday, March 16, for the banked slalom event.
Asked how he feels about having the privilege to again represent Canada on the international stage, he said, “It is an honour to represent my country and I want nothing more than to make my family, friends, sponsors and of course Canadians proud.”
Minard watched the Olympic Winter Games, which just wrapped up on Sunday, and said they helped in getting him mentally prepared for going to the Paralympics.
“Obviously when the games are on, I have it on TV all day long and am continually streaming on my phone while I am training so I can keep up with our Canadians. When I watch the Olympics, I get overwhelmed with emotions and can’t wait to get in the start gates. It feels like a 1,000 horses in my chest just waiting to explode adrenaline,” he said.
Asked what he looks forward to the most there, he replied, “To follow our country’s flag into the opening ceremonies is going to be a highlight. I am welcoming the entire process with open arms and want to cherish every minute of it, and receiving our athlete kit is going to be a dream come true also.”
His preparation for the Games “involves a lot of on-snow training, gym sessions, spin classes, sports psychologists, chiropractic sessions and massage therapists. I am trying to unwind and enjoy my last few days in Canada as I head into the staging camp in South Korea. I feel that being mentally content is what is going to keep me grounded and prepared to give myself the best opportunity at the Paralympic Games.”
Asked about being a snowboarder, Minard said, “I think it’s such an amazing high-energy high-adrenaline sport. It’s not just a physical sport, it’s a challenge mentally. You have to be quick thinking.”
He was at the venue in PyeongChang for a pre-Paralympic test event in 2017, and he won a bronze medal for Canada.
“The course in PyeongChang is a very technical and challenging course, so I was able to lay down some pretty good qualifying rounds there,” said Minard. “To come out with a medal, I was pretty ecstatic. That gives me confidence to go into the 2018 Games and do well for Canada.”