Gold medal winner Kelly Gallagher calls time on her skiing career
Kelly Gallagher, Great Britain’s first-ever Winter Paralympic gold medallist has brought the curtain down on her glittering 11-year alpine skiing career.
As well as winning the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi games the Bangor native won nine world championship medals and raced in three Winter Paralympic Games.
But with the birth of her second child due around the same time as the next Winter Paralympics in Beijing in March, Gallagher decided now was the right time to announce her retirement.
“It’s been the adventure of a lifetime to ski race at the highest level for the past 11 years, during which I’ve achieved more than I could have hoped for or imagined, not least the honour of becoming Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic Gold medallist in 2014,” said Gallagher.
"I’m immensely proud of everything I’ve achieved in my career, from my first ever season on the circuit in 2009/10 to my final medals in 2019.
"I’ve also had the fortune to work with some phenomenal guides in Charlotte Evans, Claire Robb and Gary Smith and more; I’ll be eternally grateful for their expertise and the personal sacrifice of their time and effort in order for me to reach my potential on the slopes.”
The highlight of Gallagher’s career was winning the gold medal with guide Charlotte Evans at the Sochi Paralympics.
“Sochi was more an experience of relief than joy, I had a really tough time because the conditions in Sochi were unfavourable,” she said.
“It wasn’t down to luck, but it wasn’t the most pristine race track that it could have been it was just down to weather and things out of anybody’s control.
“It was just a kind of relief to get down and perform to our effort and potential, so standing on the podium it was just pure relief after all the work that Charlotte and I put in.
“I basically took 2014 as a party year of going from place to place congratulating myself and celebrating with other people, there was a party in Bangor and it was a big celebration, I went to Ascot, we got to do BBC Sports Personality of the Year, we got to go to Wimbledon and sit in the royal box and we got our MBE’s.
“From March to December we tried to max it out.”
Gallagher also won three medals in her last event the 2019 world championships.
“The build up to 2018 was really hard I wasn’t sure if I’d get on the team for South Korea, there was a lot of uncertainty and I found it difficult to overcome any fears and I struggled,” she explained
“Although there were glimpses of really good performances in 2018 it just wasn’t perfect, then in 2019 I won a couple of good World Cup races.
“Gary damaged his knee at the World Championships so It was a little bit of this and that, we got our three medals and when I look back now it was a nice way to close it out.
“I’m sure there is a race in me where I get to ski down in fancy dress and give flowers to people because that is normally how ski racers retire.”
Gallagher appeared on a celebrity version of Mastermind and is open to doing more television now she has put the skis away.
“I’d love to go on 'Who Do You Think You Are?' or 'Strictly Come Dancing', that would be good craic,” she said.
“I’d go on the ice (Dancing on Ice), I’d go to the jungle (I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here), I really don’t mind.
“I’ve just been locked up for a year, I’m ready for it all. Possibly the more glamorous, the more I’m into it.”