Kevin Pearce is an American snowboarder, aspiring sports commentator and an advocate for both the National Down Syndrome Society and the prevention of Traumatic Brain Injuries. Kevin catapulted onto the professional snowboarding stage in 2005 at age 18, soaring above others in his division and quickly becoming the athlete to watch in the ever-evolving sport. With his smooth style, spellbinding tricks and panache for the unexpected, fans came to know that whatever came next from Kevin would amaze. In 2007 & 2008, Kevin earned back-to-back Quarterpipe victories at The Oakley Artic Challenge as well as two Air&Style victories. At the end of the 2008 season he was deemed TTR (Ticket to Ride) Champion. In the 2009 Winter X Games, Kevin brought home the Silver Medal for Superpipe, making him the front-runner to win Gold in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
On December 31, 2009, while training for the Olympic trials in Park City, Utah, and practicing a trick on the half-pipe that was sure to guarantee him the Gold if successfully executed, Kevin suffered a traumatic brain injury. Although he was wearing a helmet, the injury left Kevin in critical condition and in a medically induced coma. Despite the fact that Kevin’s half-pipe career was brought to an end that day, Kevin’s determination and drive to overcome the catastrophe through vigorous rehabilitation and training inspires his family, friends and fans every day.
Kevin, a Vermont native and the youngest of four brothers, comes from a support system unmatched by many families. Kevin’s father, world-renowned glass blower, Simon Pearce, and his mother, Pia Pearce, taught their sons from an early age to find happiness in doing what they love. Kevin is thankful for his parents support during his school years, with the challenge of his dyslexia, in his love of snowboarding and throughout his recovery. The commitment that the Pearce family has shown to each other has been crucial throughout Kevin’s recovery process. This support has pushed Kevin to work as hard toward his recovery as he did during the peak of his Olympic training.
Kevin continues to be an important part of the snowboarding world. He was present at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, CO and was a guest announcer for ESPN during the 2011 Winter X Games. Kevin admits that not being able to compete is something he copes with every day, but it will never defeat him.
A passion for educating the public on important issues has long been a priority for Kevin, and post-accident his activism has only grown. Kevin is a Sports Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society, crediting his older brother David, who was born with Down syndrome, as a huge influence in his life and career. Kevin is also an advocate for education and research on Traumatic Brain Injuries and their prevention, highlighting the importance of wearing a helmet.
While Kevin’s life and career path have been altered, his love and passion for the sport of snowboarding have remained unaffected. Kevin continues to be a part of FRENDS, a group of professional riders who promote camaraderie within the sport. Everyone from snowboarding fanatics to those outside the sports world have followed Kevin’s rise to the top and dramatic close call; now, the world waits, knowing that whatever Kevin does next will be nothing short of spectacular.