Memorable race for John Leslie at Big White World Cup

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January 27, 2014, BIG WHITE, B.C. (ISN) – John Leslie won’t soon forget this past weekend’s performances at the 10-country Para-snowboard World Cup competition held at his new training base at Big White which is the official training centre of the Canadian Para-snowboard team.

The 21-year-old from Arnprior, Ont., not only won a bronze medal in the snowboard cross on Sunday on home soil but a few hours later was nominated to the Canadian team for the Paralympic Winter Games set for Sochi in March. The Big White event was the last chance qualifier for the Games.

In Sochi, Leslie, Tyler Mosher of Whistler and Ian Lockey of Trail B.C., will be part of history as Para-snowboard makes its official Games debut.

”It felt unreal to come home and get a bronze medal at home,” said Leslie who has worn a prosthetic leg since being treated for cancer at age 10 and is featured on the Petro Canada commercials currently in rotation on the major television networks.

”It was great to see everyone riding at the best of their abilities. The crew at Big White really stepped it up from the course staff to the admin. They all came together and put on a great event for us.”

On a faster and firmer course than Saturday, Michael Shea and Evan Cross of the U.S. were 1-2 in Sunday’s snowboard cross clocking 2:28.92 and 2:30.23. The two best times of three runs determined the final time. Leslie followed in 2:33.74 for his second career World Cup medal. He won his first last week in Colorado. Lockey was seventh.

On Saturday in soft snow conditions, it was an American sweep with Shea first, Keith Gabel second and Strong third. Leslie took fifth, Mosher sixth and Lockey 10th.

National coach Candice Droin was delighted with the entire team’s performance.

”This was a great weekend for our team, we’re extremely fortunate to have Big White’s support as we head into the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi,” she said.

”The whole team is showing consistency. The course got faster and firmer on Sunday and John Leslie capitalized to string two good runs together and land himself on the podium here at home.”

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