Photo Credit: @KianaClay23
From the first day she could walk, 'fast' was a part of her every step.
At just 12 years old, Kiana Clay was slinging mud at a motocross competition in Wortham, Texas. During a practice lap, her back tire slid out — and the rider behind her landed directly on her neck. The impact knocked Kianna out for several minutes.
Kiana woke up on a stretcher. The official devastating diagnosis — full paralysis of her dominant right arm. Twelve years have come and gone. Beyond regaining her balance and coping with the everyday pain, Kiana traded the dirt for the snow.
Even though motocross wrecked her arm — snowboarding has revived her life and competitive edge. Clay qualified for the 2020 Paralympics in snowboarding and ranked ninth in the world in her category.
Fast forward to 2021, Kiana Clay has found herself at top of many competitions — and aims to compete in the 2022 Paralympics in Beijing. Kiana became the first adaptive female moto-x competitor to be signed by Burton, one of the best known in snowboarding and whose members have included Olympians like Kelly Clark, Chloe Kim, and Shaun White.
The inclusion of an adaptive rider on the Burton Snowboards team, the most recognizable brand in the industry and a team that includes multiple Olympic and Winter X Games champions, is a personal triumph for the Southern California native as well as a new chapter for Para snowboard.
A True Champion – Kiana Clay
Used to standing out from the crowd, Clay is hopeful her achievements will inspire more women to come into the sport and help promote her SB-UL class.
With her continuous push, compassion, and advocacy, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board announced it will be included at Milano Cortina 2026.
“After I lost my arm, I started thinking, what am I going to do as a career? How am I going to be a mom, how am I going to be a wife, are boys going to like me? Can I be a girlfriend, can I drive? All these questions started filling my brain and I never ever want a female or anybody to feel that way,” Kiana Clay stated.
“I want an Upper Limb class so that if a little girl at home with an upper limb disability sees a bunch of girls snowboarding at the Paralympics, that would give her motivation that says she can do whatever she wants to if she sets her mind to it because the possibilities are endless, regardless if she has one arm. The mark I’d like to leave is not only for disabled people, but for every human to understand that the only limitation they have is themselves,” she continued. “I want to help people see beyond themselves, what their potential is and what they’re capable of if they’re willing to put in the work.”