By Euro Weekly News Media • 10 March 2014 • 9:16
Kelly Gallagher in Action With her Guide
Britain has won its first ever gold medal at the Winter Paralympics.
Kelly Gallagher and her guide Charlotte Evans took the visually-impaired Sochi super-G title in one minute, 28.72 seconds in what was a spectacular bounce back from previous days.
They were the first of six pairs to ski the course and had an anxious wait to see if their time was good enough.
This is the first gold medal won by a British team in skiing at either the Winter Olympics or Paralympic Games.
Gallagher, 28, is from Bangor in County Down, Northern Ireland and is a competitor in five skiing events – the visually impaired super combined, slalom, giant slalom, Super-G and downhill. She started skiing at 17 during a family holiday in Andorra and made her international debut just four years later at the Winter Games in New Zealand in 2009.
Sochi is her second Winter Paralympics, having finished in fourth position in the Giant Slalom 2010 Vancouver Games. She was also silver medallist in the Super-G 2013 World Championships in La Molina, Spain.
This recent win was a massive boost, coming just two days after the pair, who started working together in 2010, came in last, leaving Evans in tears.
Gallagher told BBC Sports: “It was nerve-wracking but I’m delighted with the result.
“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.
“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.”
The pair have won silver and bronze medals at World Championships.
Russian world champion Aleksandra Frantceva was tipped to be a favourite but crashed out, leaving the British duo at the top of the table.
And more good news for Britain came as Etherington and Caroline Powell won bronze, their second medal of the Games.
The wins mean that Britain, with three medals, have already exceeded their UK Sport target.
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