• Winter Paralympics

Etherington makes British history on the snow

ESPN staff
March 8, 2014
Jade Etherington struggles to hide her emotions after winning silver © Getty Images

Skier Jade Etherington has become the first British woman to win a Winter Paralympics medal on snow after earning silver in the women's visually impaired downhill on the opening day of action in Sochi.

Etherington and her guide Caroline Powell - who are making their Games debut - recorded a time of 1:34.28 at Rosa Khutor to finish 2.73 seconds behind Slovakia's Henrieta Farkasova and her guide Natalia Subrtova.

The 22-year-old crashed heavily into the hoardings after crossing the finishing line, but shook it off to celebrate her moment in history.

"We're really happy and I am delighted with the silver medal, I don't think it's sunk in yet," she told BBC Sport.

"We knew going down that it was a solid run, despite my little jump and crash at the end, but I think I was just pleased to get down and it is great to have that confidence boost for the rest of the competition.

"We've had so much support from everyone, especially our parents and family, and we just want to thank them."

Etherington, who was born with glaucoma and the genetic eye condition Axenfeld Syndrome, teamed up with Powell at the end of last season.

Team GB colleague Kelly Gallagher - competing in the first of her five events at Sochi - finished sixth.

"Every day we go out to win and we certainly didn't today but that's the way ski-racing goes sometimes," she said. "We still have four more races to come back stronger.

"I'm so excited for Jade - winning a silver medal at the Paralympics is so great for our sport."

It is Britain's first Winter Paralympic medal since the curling team won silver at the Turin Games in 2006 and a first skiing medal since 1994.

Elsewhere, Great Britain's curling team lost their opening game 6-3 against world and Paralympic champions Canada.

Team GB led 2-0 after the first two ends and were 4-3 up at the halfway point, but Canada hit back and pulled ahead in the final three to take victory. Great Britain's next round-robin games take place on Sunday, against Sweden and South Korea.

"We were really confident going into the game and really pleased with how the game started. We had a few opportunities, some of which we managed to take," Team GB skip Aileen Neilson told BBC Sport. "Unfortunately, the one that we had in the sixth was the one we had to take, but we didn't, so we have to make sure that in our next game these are the opportunities we take.

"We worked really well on the ice. For a few of the guys, it's their first Games and I think they put in an awesome display out there, very supportive of me and great team dynamics."

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