Skier Kelly Gallagher wins Sochi gold

10th March 2014, by Abi Butcher

Britain's gold-medal winning Paralympic skier Kelly Gallagher in training earlier this week

Britain's gold-medal winning Paralympic skier Kelly Gallagher in training earlier this week

Skier Kelly Gallagher has entered the history books in Sochi this morning by winning Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic gold medal.

Gallagher, 28, won the visually impaired super-G on the Rosa Khutor course, with her guide Charlotte Evans in a time of one minute and 28.72 seconds.

The visually impaired skier from Bangor, County Down told BBC Sport: “It was nerve-wracking but I’m delighted with the result — it feels amazing.”

“Normally when we compete, even in big events like World Championships, there is nobody interested in what we are doing but here there has been a lot of hype and pressure, as well as expectation, and maybe we let some of that in, so today we just decided to ski and see what happens,” she said.

“I have to thank Charlotte for getting me to the line. We just threw ourselves at it. I prayed for the strength to ski and have fun.”

Gallagher has been skiing since she was 17, and paired with Charlotte Evans in 2010. Today’s gold more than makes up for a disappointing result in Saturday’s downhill, where they finished sixth.

Downhill silver medallist Jade Etherington, 23, won bronze in the same event. Jade, from Lincolnshire, skis with Caroline Powell, a former British ski racer. Etherington learnt to ski with Snowbizz in the French resort of Puy St Vincent when she was eight years old.

Both Etherington and Gallagher, and their guides, will be in action later in the week — in the super combined on Tuesday and the slalom on Friday.

They are two of just seven skiing athletes representing Britain in the Winter Paralympics in Sochi — and their three medals have already smashed the minimum target of two set by UK Sport.

Jade Etherington has been blogging about her Paralympic journey for Snowbizz — read her latest entry here. Read Kelly Gallagher’s blog here.

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