Millie Knight and her guide Brett Wild won GB’s first medal on the opening day of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. Millie finished third in the visually impaired category of the women’s downhill Alpine skiing with a time of 1:23.20 and said the bronze ranked above her silver medal in the 2018 games. She said “It is the best bronze we’ve ever had in our lives.”
The Get Kids Going! supported athlete is competing in her third Paralympic Games. She recovered from a number of concussions, including a crash in February 2021, and won super combined gold in the World Championships in Lillehammer which was a great start to 2022.
Millie Knight said “The feelings haven’t really sunk in, there are so many thoughts and emotions going through my head. I feel like I’m on cloud nine and I just genuinely can’t believe that this is happening to us.
“Crossing the line with a smile on my face was our number one goal – we genuinely didn’t believe we were at the level that would get us a medal. This bronze is something very special.
“Brett’s belief and confidence in me has very much inspired me and made me want to do it not just for me, my family friends and sponsors but for Brett.
“This medal ranks above our silver 4 years ago in PyeongChang – we are very different people and have gone through some tough things and it’s changed us.
“The conditions were perfect, absolutely unbelievable. The snow was amazing and the course had fantastic features – it was so much fun”.
Millie continued by saying “We genuinely did not think a medal would be achievable especially with the standard at the moment – I didn’t think I was good enough to be up there. At the start I was just thinking find the seconds, do anything you can do to go faster, it doesn’t matter if you’re scared, keep going.
“It’s unbelievable to be here competing especially with all the difficulties going on at the moment. I feel very grateful that we can compete but obviously my thoughts go out to all the Ukrainians.”
Menna Fitzpatrick who is also a Get Kids Going! supported athlete and her guide Gary Smith finished in fifth place with a time of 1:30.49. We wish her best of luck with her next race in Sunday’s super-G.
Meanwhile, Get Kids Going! supported athlete and three-time Paralympian James Whitely finished ninth in a field of over 30 skiers. It was his best finish ever at a Paralympic Games in the highly competitive men’s downhill standing class .
“I’m really pleased, it’s my best Paralympic result to date and my best downhill result to date, so I’m really happy with how it went,” said James with his time of 1:19.05.
“I had a good training run yesterday so I just took all the good feelings I had from that and gave it again today, with even more energy.
“Without doubt this is the best downhill I’ve ever done. You’ve got flats, fast bits, technical parts, jumps and you’ve got really steep sections – it’s just so enjoyable to do which is probably part of the reason I did so well. The dream is always to get a medal, but as long as I do the best I can I’m sure one day I’ll get there.”
Get Kids Going! supported athlete Callum Deboys, made his Paralympic debut on the first day of the Winter Games and came 17th with a time of 22:32.0 in the men’s sprint sitting para biathlon.
He said “I can’t believe that I’ve actually come here, finished the first race and it’s just the dream come true
“The conditions were tough, it was very windy out there and a pretty strong headwind, but the sun and the snow conditions were perfect, I really can’t complain.
“I’ve got a day off tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to racing again and just taking it one race at a time.”
Get Kids Going!’s supported athlete, 19 year old, Neil Simpson, had a fantastic start to his first ever Paralympic Games, He finished seventh in the men’s Visually Impaired downhill. Neil is guided by his brother Andrew, with a time of 1:17.13 in only his second ever downhill race.
“It was really exciting, I’m very pleased with how we went,” said Neil. “I felt we had carried on from the training and we delivered well on that. Usually, I am pretty nervous before I race but not much was going through my head at the start, which was surprising. I’ve really enjoyed my experience here so far and to be doing it with Andrew makes it that bit more special – it’s an experience we will cherish for a long time to come.
“With more training I think we can go pretty far in downhill. I’ve enjoyed it so far – I was pretty nervous before I started but now I just want to get more training under me and go from there – I’m really looking forward to racing the Super G on the same hill.”
Watch out for more of our coverage of the Winter Paralympics and visit our homepage to find out more about the Get Kids Going! team at the Winter Paralympics 2022.