Paralymic medallist Kelly Gallagher meets Cameron at Downing Street

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller (right), meets Kelly Gallagher (centre) and Charlotte Evans (second right).
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller (right), meets Kelly Gallagher (centre) and Charlotte Evans (second right).

Visually-impaired skier Kelly Gallagher has said she has the potential for further success after winning Great Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic gold in Sochi.

The 28-year-old and her team mates were honoured with a Downing Street reception after finishing the Sochi games with a six medal haul.

Gallagher, from County Down, who won gold in the super-G with guide Charlotte Evans, said she would be back in training within weeks and the pair “have the potential to do so much more”.

Prime Minister David Cameron told the athletes he had followed the games by watching the “wrap-up programmes in the evenings”.

Alongside Gallagher and Evans, Jade Etherington and her guide Caroline Powell claimed three silvers and a bronze in skiing events.

Mr Cameron was fascinated by the bluetooth headsets the visually-impaired skiers used to communicate with their guides during the events.

He asked: “Is it like my bluetooth upstairs, where if it gets too far apart it stops working?”

Mr Cameron asked the female skiers about their plans for the future: “Are you all thinking now, next four years I’m going to do it all over again?”

Gallagher told him: “We were like ‘let’s go now’, but then we have to train for four years.”

The Prime Minister joked that the success in Sochi meant that the jobs of those involved in the team were safe.

“This was our best haul since 1984, we hit our medal targets - well done, very good - you can keep your jobs, you’re all right, you’re safe.”

Following the reception, Gallagher said: “We achieved one gold medal but we have the potential do so much more. There’s World Championships coming up and the World Cup circuit, so there’s still gold to chase after and we really have a passion for skiing.”

She said she had not yet thought about what the impact of the gold on her life would be, adding: “We have been really focused on the five events we have been competing in and we had always wanted to achieve the gold, but it wasn’t for any attention or fame, it was because we wanted to be the best skiers we could be.

“I’m really excited to hear that it means that people at home have been watching and maybe they can be inspired to get involved in a sport, whatever they want to do.”

Gallagher said she was planning to have a “wee break” before returning to training.

“I’m going to have a wee break, we are going to try and see what we have to do with our careers outside sport and within sport, but we’re still full-time athletes so we’ll be training,” she said.

“I’ll be like a moth to a flame, I’ll be back in the gym in a couple of weeks I imagine and we’ll set ourselves up for the World Championships.”