A Face-Plant & a Silver Medal

Brittani Coury on the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games Medal

I pulled out of the starting gate, flew through the course, and as I was coming out of the last turn there was two rollers I had to cross before the finish line. I was wildly out of control, almost took out the netting, and I chanted in my head: “Just cross the finish line. Just get there however you can. Who cares?”

I crossed the finish line – sliding on my face – and firmly in third place at one minute, five seconds! Everyone was cheering and going nuts. My coaches were yelling and jumping up and down.

Still, I thought to myself, “I’m holding on to that bronze medal.”

Now it was time for my second run. It was the same experience – total mental clarity and ability to let go and just be in the zone. I finished in one minute flat, shaving five seconds off my time. I was still firmly in the bronze position. Then I went for my last run. I dropped in and took off. As I came out of the last turn, I was way off balance. Just like my first run, I made it to the finish line and slid through – on my face – in just 59 seconds!

I was now in first place! My name was on a giant jumbotron and all I could think was, please let my name stay up there, don’t let me walk away from this without anything. More girls kept coming down the mountain. Finally, one of them turned to me and said “Congratulations!” And I was like, “Oh, are we done?”

I looked up at the jumbotron and there was my name in second place. I’d won the silver! I had so many emotions going through me at that point that I couldn’t process, I couldn’t move, it was like I was frozen. And then I started jumping around like a little kid on an energy drink! I will never forget the flag ceremony, standing on that podium, how vivid the contrast was of the red and white stripes and the stars. That feeling of knowing I was representing my country. It’s something I will never forget, and I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.