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Bangor skier Kelly Gallagher and guide take gold at Winter Paralympics

Kelly Gallagher

Kelly Gallagher

Visually-impaired skier Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans earned Great Britain their first ever gold medal at the Winter Paralympics.

The pair took the super-G title in one minute, 28.72 seconds as they bounced back from their downhill disappointment in emphatic fashion.

And there was more good news for the British team as Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell won bronze, their second medal of the Games.

Gallagher and Evans were the first of the six pairs down and had an anxious wait to see if their time would be good enough.

Russian world champion Aleksandra Frantceva was expected to go quicker, but crashed out, leaving the British duo on top of the standings.

It represented a huge turnaround in fortunes from just two days ago when they finished dead last, leaving Evans in tears.

The bronze for Etherington and Powell followed their silver on day one and means Britain, with three medals, have already exceeded their UK Sport target.

The gold was Britain’s first on snow at either the Olympics or Paralympics.

Gallagher said: “It was really hard work coming from downhill into Super-G because they are similar speed events. We were told by our sports psychologist to put it away, it’s one result. It’s so easy to say, so hard to do.

“I lost all of my faith in myself, in Charlotte, in our processes, in what we were doing and I was like, ‘I only have a couple of hours to put this together, because we’re going to be back on snow and we’ve got to race’.

“We’ve had to do that so many times along the road and I guess all that was training for going from downhill to Super-G.”

Gallagher and Evans admitted they could not have felt lower after the downhill run.

Evans was in tears after that disappointment and said: “It takes a lot to make me cry, even the coach didn’t really know what to do with me. It was that awkward tap like, ‘Come on, sort yourself out’. My eyes were sore from crying.

“We did our best in the downhill and it didn’t work, I can’t tell you why. But I know that today worked.”

The success at a packed Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre put Britain, for the time being at least, ahead of the United States and Canada in the medal table.

Etherington’s and Powell’s run was the first time they had finished a Super-G race together, but they were critical of their run, with Etherington hitting a gate on the way down.

“I think after all the mistakes that I made we’re really happy to finish and get that bronze position,” Etherington said.

Sit-skier Anna Turney, who crashed out in the downhill, finished fourth in her Super-G race.

 

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