Lake City resident Jeff Snover started wheelchair curling 7 years ago.
“I was introduced to wheelchair curling in Charlotte, North Carolina back in 2014,” said Jeff. “There was a wheelchair curling clinic I saw on Facebook. I attended that clinic and was hooked from the very first stone that I threw.”
He participated in a wheelchair curling camp in Denver, Colorado in 2015, where he was noticed by a few staff members of the U.S. Wheelchair Curling Team.
“They spoke with me at that camp and basically invited me to come to the trials the next year,” he said.
While he didn’t make the team that year, he didn’t give up, and was offered a spot on the U.S. Wheelchair Curling Development Team.
“From the development team, I hope to make the U.S. team,” said Jeff. “The U.S. Wheelchair Curling Team.”
This year, Jeff will return to pretrials at the end of April to compete for a spot to go to trials, which will be held the first week of June in Denver, Colorado.
“Currently, there are six members on the team, so five travel and there’s one alternate,” said Jeff. “To be part of team USA, the top eight athletes are a part of the team and there are four in the development program. We had two that were in the top eight retire last year, so there’s two spots open.”
Jeff has taken his training seriously, both on and off the ice.
“I’ve done a lot of mental training working with a psychologist to get over some of the anxiety performing under pressure,” said Jeff. “My on-ice training is one or two times a week, I come out and throw stones for an hour, hour and a half, as often as I can get out here.”
He is passionate about educating others, especially those with physical disabilities, about adaptive sports.
“After I was injured, I was introduced to adaptive sports very early on in my injury,” said Jeff. “I actually co-founded an organization, a non-profit down in Augusta [Georgia]: Champions Made from Adversity. That provided sport and leisure activities for folks with physical disabilities and their families. Not necessarily to create athletes, but to teach life skills and show folks that have disabilities that there are more things that just what you are accustomed to.”
And to Jeff, getting on the U.S. Paralympic team means more to him than accomplishing a goal.
“I’m a veteran, a U.S. Army Veteran. I was in Iraq,” said Jeff. “The reason I want to achieve that level is to again represent my country. As a service member, USA means a lot to me.”