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Wayne County native heading to 2022 Paralympic Winter Games

Newswatch 16's Courtney Harrison spoke with Mike Minor about the challenges he'll face on and off his snowboard in this year's games.

WAYNE COUNTY, Pa. — Last week, Wayne County native Mike Minor says he was crossing his fingers until it was announced that he would be on Team USA competing in the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in two events: snowboard cross and banked slalom.

Minor says this past year has been rough, getting COVID-19 then battling injuries. Luckily, Minor had enough good finishes to qualify him for the games. Until he leaves, he's doing everything he can to prevent any setbacks.

"It's always an honor to represent your country and your hometown and to make everybody that supports you on this journey that much prouder that everything they supported is coming to fruition. It's great. It'll be great to wear the flag again and get out there and hopefully bring some medals home," Minor said.

This will be Minor's second appearance in the Paralympic Games. Minor won two medals in snowboarding events in 2018 and hopes to perform well enough to get on the podium again this year.

Minor says competing isn't the only stress for these games; it's preparing for the journey to China and making sure he follows all the COVID protocols to be able to compete.

"I think that's going to add a whole layer of mental stress to the games that isn't normally there, that's extra as if the games already aren't enough. I'd like to defend my medals and not be sitting in a hotel room, like, well, that was fun while it lasted."

Another challenge for this year is the format of snowboard cross. Instead of going head to head with one other competitor, he will be going up against three other snowboarders in the race.

"It'll be a little more intense, more tough call. It used to be more strategic and a little more you could judge what the race could be. Now, it's just anything can happen, two people can wreck, one person can squeeze through, all sorts of different stuff."

Minor leaves on Tuesday to defend his medals in Beijing. His first event is scheduled for March 6.

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