• Winter Paralympics

Gallagher earns GB's first ever gold

ESPN staff
March 10, 2014
Kelly Gallacher and Charlotte Evans celebrate gold, with Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell third © Getty Images

Team GB's skiers have continued their history-making start to the Winter Paralympics after Kelly Gallagher won Britain's first ever gold at the Games with victory in the visually impaired super-G in Sochi.

Gallagher and her guide Charlotte Evans, looking to make amends for a sixth place finish in Saturday's downhill, recorded a time of one minute and 28.72 seconds.

The result follows a silver medal for Jade Etherington in the opening day's downhill, Britain's first ever Winter Paralympics medal on snow in women's events.

Gallagher began working with Evans in 2010, shortly after she finished fourth in this event in Vancouver four years ago, and says the result caps off "four years of hard work, every day".

The 28-year-old, who has oculocutaneous albinism, a condition with affects the pigment in her hair, skin and eyes, added: "We won a gold medal and it feels amazing.

"It is just the fruits of our labour after so much hard work. There was a lot of pressure on us, and it feels amazing.

"Normally when we compete, even in big events like World Championships, there is nobody interested in what we are doing.

"But here there has been a lot of hype and pressure, as well as expectation, and maybe we let some of that in. Today we just decided to ski and see what happens.

"I have to thank Charlotte for getting me to the line. We just threw ourselves at it. I prayed for the strength to ski and have fun."

Evans added: "I was yelling a lot and she wasn't doing what I told her, but finally it paid off. It didn't feel as good as we wanted to on the course, but who cares.

It was double delight for Team GB as Etherington and guide Caroline Powell notched their second medal of the Games with a third-place finish.

Etherington did well to recover her balance after hitting one of the gates early on and finish in 1:29.76 - just behind Russia's Alexsandra Frantceva on 1:28.94.

"I made a big mistake going straight into the gate and losing my pole," Etherington explained. "I got it back and Caroline told me not to slow down too much, be strong and to push on the outside of my skis.

"Winning a silver in the downhill gave me a lot of confidence."

Britain's Anna Turney was fourth in the sit-ski event, with Germany's Anna Schaffelhuber winning her second gold of the Games.

Gallagher and Evans and Etherington and Powell are in action again on Tuesday, along with Turney and fellow sit-skier Mick Brennan when they compete in the super combined event.

Elsewhere, Team GB's wheelchair curling team recovered from falling 2-0 down in the opening end to beat Slovakia 12-2 for a third win out of four in the round-robin phase of the competition.

"I came to the party today, which was nice," Neilson, who played a superb 93% in the game, told BBC Radio 5 live.

"All through the competition the guys have been a great support but it is nice when I can come and play the way I know.

"It shows if we play to our potential then other teams are going to have to play really well against us."

After the shaky start, skip Aileen Neilson they dominated after that. They now face two games on Tuesday, against Finland at 05:30 GMT and Norway at 11:30 GMT.

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