January 13 - Canadian Alpine skier Alexandra Starker has won the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Athlete of the Month award for December, it has been announced.
The 17-year-old scoopeed the award after winning both days of the giant slalom and slalom standing competitions at the NORAM Cup on Copper Mountain in Colorado.
Starker received 51 per cent of the vote on the IPC's Facebook poll, beating fellow Canadian Greg Westlake, an ice sledge hockey player, for the title, who had 48 per cent of the vote.
Also nominated with Australian wheelchair racer Kurt Feanrley, New Zealand Alpine skier Adam Hall, Polish nordic skier Katarzyna Rogowiec and Germany's Andrea Rothfuss, also an alpine skier, as the two Canadians dominated the voting.
The NORAM Cup was Starker's first race of the season and the points she earned helped her qualify for World Cup events in the United States and Canada.
"I hadn't raced against most of the competitors before, so I wasn't sure how I would place," said the teenager from Calgary, a left-arm, below the elbow amputee.
"Winning was an unexpected but exciting surprise."
Starker is now ready to compete in the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup this year, with the finals set to take place in Panorama, Canada.
"I'm really looking forward to racing in Panorama, as it's my home hill and I've never raced a para-race there before," Starker said.
"In the future, I'm hoping to become a full member of the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team and eventually race [at the Paralympics] in Sochi, Russia in 2014."
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