Paralympic Gold For Finnish Snowboarder

World Champion adds Paralympic gold to his medal haul, a huge improvement from 11th place in Sochi.

Finnish snowboard athlete Matti Suur-Hamari carries the Finnish flag at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea / Credit: @mattisuurhamari Instagram

Finnish snowboard star Matti Suur-Hamari has won gold in the snowboard cross competition in Pyeongchang.

He’s already a world champion in the LL2 classification event, and today beat American Keith Gabel in the Paralympic finals in South Korea.

Suur-Hamari carried the Finnish flag at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Paralympics on Friday evening – he also carried the flag at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games.

The 29-year-old first took up snowboarding as a child, but gave it up after a motorbike accident in summer 2009 resulted in his left leg being amputated below the knee. A few years later, he got back on his board again, and enjoyed it so much he called the Finnish Paralympic Committee and said he was ready to represent his country.

His first competition was in 2013, and since taking up the sport professionally, Suuri-Hamari has regularly landed in the top 10 of World Cup events. He came 11th at the Sochi games, the first time his sport was featured at Paralympic level.

According to Paralympic rules, LL2 snowboard competitors have “an impairment in one or two legs, with less activity limitation. A typical example is a below knee amputation or mild spasticity”.