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Get to know ParalympicsGB's winter athletes

Get to know ParalympicsGB's winter athletes
Pyeongchang 2018

 There will be 17 athletes in PyeongChang representing Great Britain, but how much do you know about them? 

Let us take you through them one-by-one...

 

  • Para Alpine Skiing:

Chris Lloyd, 43:

Chris suffered a car crash in September 2011 which damaged his neck, crushed his spinal cord and left him paralysed from the neck down. 

He managed to walk on his own and eventually managed to ski again. The reason for his dedication was the goal that he’d set, when he’d had his accident, that he would participate in the Winter Paralympics.

He started racing in 2012 and with his resilience and determination he was invited to become a member of the British Disabled Ski Team in 2013. He was also invited to Sochi in 2014 to watch the team and was determined to make the 2018 squad.

James Whitley, 20:

James was born without hands and therefore he skis without poles.

He started skiing when he was only four and was offered a place on the British Disabled Ski Team at the age of 10.

He competed at the Sochi Paralympics in 2014 while he was still in school. He participated in the slalom, finishing 14th, and the giant slalom finishing 15th.

Millie Knight, 19 and guide Brett Wild, 25:

Millie is a para alpine skier and a world champion in the discipline despite being only eighteen years of age.

Millie had lost sight in both of her eyes by the age of six and despite this setback she persevered and has since reaped the rewards.

She now races with Brett Wild as her guide and they communicate via a bluetooth headset in their helmets. She competed in the Sochi games in 2014 and participated in the slalom and the giant slalom (more space between gates than regular slalom), finishing fifth in both events.

Menna Fitzpatrick, 19 and guide Jennifer Kehoe, 34:

Fitzpatrick was born with congenital retinal folds.  She has no vision in her left eye and limited sight in her right eye.  

Her guide is Jennifer Kehoe, who was an army officer before being spotted as a potential sighted guide whilst she was racing for the Army Ski Team.

In 2016, Menna and Jennifer finished the World Cup circuit as the overall champions and the overall giant slalom champions in the events over the year.

Kelly Gallagher, 32 and guide Gary Smith, 33:

Gallagher made history in 2014 with ParalympicsGB's first ever gold medal at a Winter Games with then guide Charlotte Evans.

Now with Smith, the pair were late selections for PyeongChang with Gallagher working her way back to form after injury.

Guide Gary, who first got into skiing while in the RAF, has a baby due on 15 March, which is when they're due to be competing!

  • Snowboarding

Owen Pick, 26:

Owen lost his leg whilst serving in Afghanistan when he was just 18. He joined the 1st Battalion when he left school and he was three months into his first tour of Afghanistan when he lost his leg. He stepped on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) and woke up two days later in hospital.

He battled to keep his leg but nothing was helping so in August 2011 he decided to have his leg amputated from below the knee.

Once he was out of hospital, he soon tried wakeboarding and snowboarding on a trip organised by Blesma, the Limbless Veterans Charity. He loved both sports but decided to take up snowboarding full time and has since risen as high as seventh in the world rankings.

Ben Moore, 32:

Ben was left with a paralysed arm after suffering a motorcycle accident more than 12 years ago and will compete in the upper limb classification at PyeongChang.

Despite this, on a trip to Bulgaria with his friends, he developed his love for snowboarding and even with the loss of use in his arm he has managed to win World Championship medals.

Ben was a keen skateboarder before his accident and these talents have helped him in his snowboarding because the balance that is required is similar. 

James Barnes-Miller, 28:

James was born with only one hand but that hasn’t stopped him from competing at international level in para snowboarding.

His training was unfortunately slowed when £10,000 worth of snowboard equipment was stolen from his van in October 2017. This halted his key training progress before the Paralympics.

James also works for a real life simulation company, mostly with the army. The company helps train the soldiers in first aid with an emphasis on shock factor.

  • Nordic skiing

Scott Meenagh, 28:

Scott, who will compete in cross country skiing and biathlon, was part of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme in 2014.

He's also been a para rower and runner in the Invictus Games, and played rugby for Scotland Under-18s.

The Paralympic debutant was injured stepping on an IED in Afghanistan seven years ago. 


  • Wheelchair Curling

Aileen Nielson, 46:

The skipper started wheelchair curling when she was 15, although it wasn't until 2005 that she began competitively. 

Nielson is a full-time athlete on a break from her job as a primary school teacher and was part of the squad that won bronze in Sochi.

Aileen has good history with PyeongChang, as she won a world championship bronze medal there in 2017.

Hugh Nibloe, 36:

Previously a keen rugby player, Hugh was then unable to play due to multiple sclerosis and turned to wheelchair curling.

He made his World Championship debut for Scotland in 2015, and medals have arrived ever since.

Hugh collected bronze in 2017 at the PyeongChang test event, and will be making his Paralympic debut in Korea.

Angie Malone MBE, 52:

Angie first tried curling  in 2003 and quickly took to the sport, competing in the first ever Games that wheelchair curling featured, in 2006.

Off the ice, her services to the sport saw her earn an MBE last year in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Malone last topped a podium at a major event in 2005... will she manage it again, 13 years later?

Gregor Ewan, 46:

An ardent Dundee FC football supporter, Gregor is also a keen handcyclist away from the rink.

The 46-year-old made his international bow in 2009, debuting for ParalympicsGB for their third-placed finish.

Ewan is the three-time Scottish wheelchair curling champion, but will he become a Paralympic one?

Robert McPherson, 49: 

A little known fact about Robert is that he likes to listen to heavy metal and rock music as his pre-game ritual.

The Motherwell man is making his second Paralympic Games appearance in PyeongChang.

His World Championship bronze last year was his first podium finish at that level.

 

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