Paralympic medal winning Alpine skier Kelly Gallagher MBE has announced her retirement, bringing to a close a glittering 12-year career at the highest levels of the sport.
Gallagher has been a fixture in international Alpine Skiing for more than a decade, representing Britain at three Paralympic Winter Games and became the nation’s first ever Winter Paralympic Gold medallist at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Awarded an MBE in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to sport for people with a visual impairment, Gallagher retires having secured four silver and five bronze medals in World Championships, spanning her first ever World Championship medals at Sestriere in 2011 to her final podium places at the 2019 Sella Nevea/Kranjska Gore World Championships.
Announcing her retirement, Kelly Gallagher MBE said:
“Making the decision to call an end to my competitive career before Beijing 2022 has come as an unexpected but delightful detour from my planned retirement season. I hope to be welcoming our 2nd baby into the world in the same month as the Paralympic Winter Games and so this is the right time to announce my retirement.
“It’s been the adventure of a lifetime to ski race at the highest level for the past 11 years, during which I’ve achieved more than I could have hoped for or imagined, not least the honour of becoming Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic Gold medallist in 2014. I’m immensely proud of everything I’ve achieved in my career, from my first ever season on the circuit in 2009/10 to my final medals in 2019.
“Through that time, I’ve enjoyed invaluable support from Sport Northern Ireland, UK Sport and GB Snowsport, all of whom have played been so important in helping me to achieve everything I’ve worked so hard for. Thank you to the many coaches, sport psychologists, physiotherapists, ski technicians, strength and conditioning coaches, and support staff who have worked with me over the years and tears.
“I’ve also had the fortune to work with some phenomenal guides in Charlotte Evans, Claire Robb and Gary Smith and more; I’ll be eternally grateful for their expertise and the personal sacrifice of their time and effort in order for me to reach my potential on the slopes.
“Finally, I must thank my family and friends for their unstinting love, care and understanding over the past decade. For always believing in me and caring for all the many injuries and doubts I had over the years.
“I will miss enormously the camaraderie and the intensity that comes with being a part of the elite sport world, and I wish all of my teammates, the coaches, and the whole Para Snowsport movement the very best of luck in the season to come. Although I won’t be out there with them this year, I’ll be cheering them on from back home.”
Vicky Gosling, GB Snowsport Chief Executive, said:
“The impact that Kelly has had on British skiing simply cannot be overstated. As our country’s first ever Gold medallist at the Winter Paralympic Games, she helped to show that British athletes can and should be competing at the highest levels of the sport. As a nation, we are incredibly fortunate to have had her compete in our colours. I, and the whole of GB Snowsport, wish her all the best in her retirement.”
Jayne Kavanagh, GB Snowsport Head of Paralympic Programme, added:
“Everyone in the Alpine system will greatly miss Kelly in her retirement. For over a decade she has been a fixture in the country’s World Class programme, and nobody will ever forget the impact she’s made on the sport. I’m certain that her influence will continue to be felt for many years to come.”
Kelly Gallagher MBE – Career Highlights
- 2011 Sestriere World Championships – Silver (Slalom), Bronze (Giant Slalom)
- 2013 La Molina World Championships – Silver (Super-G), Silver (Super Combined), Bronze (Downhill), Bronze (Giant Slalom)
- 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games – Gold (Super-G)
- 2019 Sella Nevea/Kranjska Gora World Championships – Silver (Downhill), Bronze (Super-G), Bronze (Super Combined)