By Millie Knight, Three Time Paralympic Medallist
At the age of 15 I competed at my first Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia. At these Games, I was fortunate enough to carry the British flag at the opening ceremony, which was awesome and definitely a career highlight! At the age of 19 I competed at my second Paralympics, in PyeongChang, South Korea. These two pictures are probably my favourite because they represent so much. Lots of things change over time but it’s important to appreciate those that are always there, through the good times and the bad.
One of the things that am I most grateful for and dependent upon in my skiing career, is of course, my guide Brett. As a visually Impaired skier, the relationship between you and your guide is a special one, that requires a strong bond and copious amounts of trust! I started skiing with Brett in 2016 and since then, we have gone from strength to strength, with a few tough days thrown in too!. I am so lucky to have, not only a brilliant skier in front of me but a great friend too.
In 2017 Brett and I became GB’s first ever Snowsports World Champions, this was bittersweet. After crossing the finish line of the Downhill, I failed to stop and collided with the crash barriers. I was a bit shaken up but able to continue racing, coming away with 3 Silvers and a Gold. 3 weeks later, we flew out to the Paralympic test event in South Korea and I did the same thing, I failed to stop after the finish line. This time, I wasn’t so lucky and ended up being ambulanced to hospital having landed on my head. The recovery from this concussion took a VERY long time and affected me in so many ways: not only physically but psychologically too. I never thought I would recover fully, never mind trying to win medals at the Paralympics.
The 2018 Winter Paralympics was an exceptional time for me and Brett. We went into the Games with very low expectations, knowing we weren’t performing at our best and still battling with the repercussions of concussion. Adding to the stress and pressure was the psychological challenge of knowing that the last time I skied on that race hill, I ended up in hospital. Coming through the finish line on the first day of the Games was remarkable, not only because I stopped on my feet, but we won a Silver in the Downhill – there really are no words to describe that achievement.
Our successes are not just down to me and Brett, the team behind us are the main reason we win medals. We are now in the strongest and most positive place that we have ever been, this is down to our incredible support network of; coaches, assistant coaches, ski technicians, sport psychologists, strength and conditioning coaches and of course our friends and family. Knowing our coaches have faith in us, and our abilities is a real driving force for our motivation.
We are currently working hard towards the World Championships in 2021 and the Paralympics in 2022.