Fifteen-year-old Brian Rice II started snowboarding in the ditch near his house at age 4. Soon, though, he could wind up being the first African American snowboarder in the Olympics.
“I love snowboarding because it’s so unique and different from every other sport I’ve done,” says Brian, who grew up in Farmington but now lives and trains in Colorado.
The junior pro snowboarder, who goes by Flyinbrian, has trained with the U.S. Snowboard Team coaching staff and placed third at the 2019 U.S. Snowboard and Freeski Association’s nationals in the snowboard all-around, including the halfpipe, slopestyle, boardercross, giant slalom and slalom events.
Through it all, he’s also encountered and conquered his share of obstacles.
“This season alone I have dealt with a lot of injuries and inconveniences,” he says, “but I think one of the hardest things to do is leave my family and my younger sister for half the year to get the training I need.”
Brian says making it to the 2022 Winter Olympics would have a big impact on him in several ways.
“It would mean a lot to me, especially because I feel like I am a bigger influence to the African American culture as far as snowboarding goes.”
And it would really be a dream come true if he can inspire other kids like him to try snowboarding.
To those kids, he says: “No matter what challenges come, you always find a way to overcome them because at the end of the day, it’ll all be worth it because you’re doing what you love.”
Want to help support Brian and offset his competitions and training costs? Visit his Flyinbrian GoFundMe page.