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Brenna Huckaby Not Allowed to Compete in Paralympics Because She's "Too Disabled"

The snowboarder looks for support as her events are cut from the program.
Brenna Huckaby photographed for SI Swimsuit in Aruba in 2018 by James Macari.

Brenna Huckaby photographed for SI Swimsuit in Aruba in 2018 by James Macari.

Brenna Huckaby is an inspiration on several fronts. After being diagnosed with rare bone cancer at 14 that led to the amputation of her right leg above the knee, the Louisiana native turned to snowboarding as part of her rehab. At the age of 22, she won two gold medals at the 2018 Paralympics and was eager to compete in this year’s event in Beijing. The problem? She’s not allowed because she is "too disabled."

The first Paralympian to appear in SI Swimsuit took to Instagram over the weekend to share the battle she’s been facing to attend the 2022 Winter Games this March. In her post, she explains the unfair situation.

“I’m not allowed to compete in the Paralympics because I’m too disabled,” posted Huckaby. “But seriously, the International Paralympic Committee decided to not allow my classification into the Games because we didn’t have enough women, which is fine. But then I was proceeded to be told that I could compete with the less disabled women at my own disadvantage. Again, totally fine. [I] competed with them at the World Cups, [and] got on the podium.”

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She added, “Then lo and behold, two or three weeks later, they were like, Just kidding. You can't compete at all. So that’s really fun. So for almost the last year, I’ve been fighting them to allow me to simply compete, and I just need your help and support because this is not O.K. It’s not O.K. Period."

Huckaby shared another post today explaining how she and fellow LL1 class snowboarder Cecile Hernandez of France have been told that they cannot compete in the LL2 program. (LL1 designates above the knee amputation, LL2 below the knee.) This is despite the fact that they’ve competed together for the last World Cup season, and Huckaby already has the support from the LL2 women.

“We have been on the podium time and time again with the LL2 women,” explained Huckaby. “We deserve to be there. We deserve the opportunity to defend our titles.”

After failed attempts to get the decision reversed, Huckaby is now asking for the public’s support by launching a #LetBreannaCompete and #LetCecileCompete campaign. “How can you help,” she captioned her video explaining the situation. “Raise your voice. Spread the word.”

Update: On January 20th, Brenna shared on her instagram that her appeals were successful and she will be able to compete at the Olympics in Beijing. 

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