Millie Knight, Britain’s greatest ever Paralympic Downhill Skier, announces retirement
Britain’s greatest ever Paralympic Downhill Skier, and 4-time Paralympic Medallist, Millie Knight, has announced she is retiring from the sport marking the end of a remarkable and inspirational career.
Millie Knight aged 24 from Canterbury, Kent, who lost the majority of the sight due to an infection age 6, discovered skiing shortly afterwards while on holiday in Meribel, France. She took up the sport seriously in 2012 after contacting Disability Snowsport UK and was initially being ski-guided by her mother.
At just 15, Millie became the youngest British athlete to compete in the Winter Paralympics in 2014 and was also named Great Britain’s flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony in Sochi, marking the start of her meteoric rise to becoming a world-class Paralympian and talisman in the sport.
Working with guide Brett Wild since 2016, Millie Knight has amassed an impressive collection of accolades including 4 Paralympic Medals, 2 World Championship titles and several World Cup victories. Her dedication, perseverance, and sheer talent have made her a role model for aspiring athletes, both with and without disabilities.
Millie’s impact extends beyond her own sport, raising awareness about the incredible abilities of athletes with disabilities. Millie has spoken very openly about the affects her concussion had on her journey to Paralympic success. Her resilience in the face of adversity and her commitment to achieving her dreams has inspired many to overcome their own challenges and pursue their passions.
A year away from competitive racing due to injury led to the discovery of a new passion for Millie, the sport of Karate. Millie has achieved remarkable success in this new pursuit, including the prestigious title of Commonwealth Karate Champion and participation in the European Championships. She is currently preparing for her first Karate World Championships at the end of this October.
Beyond sport Millie is actively working towards finishing her degree at the Open University where she is writing her dissertation on concussion in sport and plans to start a master’s in Physiotherapy next year with the hope to eventually work in sport again.
“Looking back at my skiing journey, it’s almost overwhelming, from my early days on the British ski team to winning 4 Paralympic medals with Brett. Becoming GB’s first Snowsports World Champions in 2017 was an incredible achievement, one I wish I could remember more vividly but my memory was affected by a concussion. Winning our first-ever Paralympic medal was the most sensational feeling and one I will cherish forever. Going on to win two more medals was far beyond our wildest expectations. Turning a disappointing fourth place finish in training to a Bronze medal the following day in the Downhill at the Beijing Paralympics was an unbelievable and perfect way to end my career.
“After Beijing, Brett announced his retirement from the sport, which was devastating as we had an incredible seven years skiing together and built up the most fantastic partnership and one that would be difficult to replace. A leg injury also led to a year away from racing, during which I found a new passion in Karate, and I’m delighted to also announce my selection for the 2023 World Karate Championships.
“I want to end my skiing career on a high note and on my terms. The idea of finding a new guide was daunting, and I’ve also had my share of crashes which take their toll physically and mentally. It’s not an easy decision, but one I’ve made with a sense of peace and optimism.
“I hope to continue to inspire people with disabilities to discover sport, find their passions and realise the positive impacts of physical activity on physical and mental health. I also want to help raise awareness around the dangers of concussion in sport and especially in skiing.
“Thank you so much to Brett, my family, my friends, the National Lottery, The British Paralympic Association, GB Snowsport, the charity Get Kids Going, my sponsors, and everyone who has helped me along the way, I couldn’t have done this without you!”
GB Snowsport Head Coach, Pat Sharples, said:
“When I think of what Millie’s achieved in her career, the impact she’s had on the sport, and what she’s meant to GB Snowsport, it’s absolutely sensational. From her Paralympic medals and World Championship achievements to her amazing World Cup record, Millie’s come about as close as you can get to completing the sport, and in doing so she’s really shown the way for the next generation of Para Alpine skiers.
“We’ll all miss Millie hugely, but it’s clear how much passion Karate has ignited within her. They’ve got a wonderful athlete, and maybe more importantly a wonderful person on their hands.”
Phil Smith, ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission at Beijing 2022, added:
“It’s been a privilege to follow Millie’s journey with ParalympicsGB from her debut at the Games in 2014 in Sochi where she showed not only that she had incredible potential on the piste, but was also a fantastic role model for others off the slopes with her enthusiasm, positive attitude and determination to succeed. It was that determination which saw her become one of our most decorated winter Paralympians and we are incredibly proud of everything she has achieved.
“Millie’s commitment to her sport and to ParalympicsGB throughout her career has been outstanding and we wish her the very best for the future.”