Chris Vos is a Dutch snowboarder and a neighbor of ours in the Beemster.
At the age of 5 Chris was in a serious accident involving a tractor. He was playing (admittedly where he was not supposed to be playing) when it backed over him. While they were able to save his leg, it was paralyzed. Doctors said that Chris would not be able to walk and would have to use a wheelchair. That’s not the way that Chris and his family saw it though. Chris was soon fitted with an orthosis – a special brace – and he learned to walk.
The entire family are avid skiers and Chris was sad to be left out, even with the orthosis he was unable to ski. Showing his exceptional spirit and determination, at age 7 he learned to snowboard with his parents tying a rope around his waist to help him down the mountain! He said that it was painful and very difficult because he could not bend is leg, but he was undeterred. Tears and pain defied, he would succeed!
A few years later Chris was inspired by fellow Nederlander, Nicolien Sauerbreij, when she brought home the gold for the women’s parallel giant slalom at the 2010 Winter Olympics (Vancouver). Hers was an historic win for Holland as the first medal for the Dutch in a non-ice skating event at the Winter Olympics. While watching this historic moment, Chris burst out, “I want that, too!”
Seeing his genuine enthusiasm, commitment and unwavering positivity Chris’s father contacted the Dutch Ski/Snowboard Association. Through this new network, Chris met Bibian Mentel, a Paralympian Dutch snowboarder (2014 Sochi, gold). She immediately became a mentor to him and introduced him to training camps and competitions. His dream to compete and one day be in the Olympics was coming true!
Chris qualified for the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi - the debut of the snowboarding event at the Winter Paralympic Games! He didn’t make it onto the podium that time, but he finished 13th out of 33 athletes at the age of 16. Following the 2014 games, Chris dominated the circuit, consistently ranking #1 at World Championship and World Cup events and winning the Crystal Globe 2016-17 (http://bit.ly/2EiULnV).
Chris was selected by World Para Snowboard to be named to the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Ones to Watch list. We are thrilled to be one of Chris’s sponsors and part of the team cheering him on to gold. Chris’s optimism and enthusiasm fills us with excitement as we anticipate watching him compete on the ultimate world stage in PyeongChang.
And don’t think that this is Chris Vos’s last go for Olympic gold… he has aspirations to continue to Beijing 2022.
The 2018 Paralympics begin on March 9. Follow Chris on Instagram to see his updates and cheer him on.