100 Days to Go: ParalympicsGB set for historic PyeongChang 2018
With 100 days to go until the start of the PyeongChang 2018 Games, ParalympicsGB are on course for an historic Winter Games, according to Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe.
A series of stellar performances in Sochi four years ago saw ParalympicsGB finish with a record one gold, three silver, and two bronze medals meaning ParalympicsGB finished tenth on the medal table – not bad for a nation not renowned for its winter sports credentials.
Those performances came across two sports – alpine skiing and wheelchair curling – but this time around ParalympicsGB will likely have representation in five of the six sports on the programme in South Korea.
An exciting mix of new names and more experienced Paralympic athletes will provide an opportunity for winter sport fans to see British para athletes competing at the pinnacle of their sport in both established and new events.
For the first time since Nagano 1998, there looks set to be representation in Para Nordic skiing, which comprises events in biathlon and cross country.
Great Britain will also have athletes competing in para snowboarding for the very first time, with a number of athletes hoping to impress on their Paralympic debut.
“If you look at the amount of sports that we will be contesting in PyeongChang then it’s clear that we have moved on as a nation when it comes to winter sport,” said Briscoe.
“To see familiar faces from Sochi still performing at the highest level is a testament to their ability but it’s also great to have seen new athletes emerge.
“Fans of Paralympic sport are going to love watching our snowboarders compete and it’s a really exciting addition to the programme. Nordic Skiing is also another brilliant opportunity for us and I’m really looking forward to watching their athletes progress over the course of the season as they aim for selection.
“As well as that we have an incredibly experienced wheelchair curling squad who claimed World Championship bronze this year and the athletes aiming for selection in the women’s VI skiing have all enjoyed recent success on the world stage, with the athletes in the men’s standing class making gains too.”
With Sochi performances living long in the memory and a contingent of established and emerging talent set to compete at PyeongChang 2018 the bar is set high for ParalympicsGB.
However, Briscoe knows that anything can happen in winter sport and is just focusing on getting the best prepared team to the start lines.
“The margins for success in winter sport are so fine as we have seen countless times in Paralympic and Olympic competition,” Briscoe added.
“When it comes to wheelchair curling, mere millimetres can be the difference between winning a medal and going home empty handed, and the snow sports are often decided by split second decisions that can the difference between a gold medal and crashing out.
“A huge amount of work has gone in to taking that next step in the preparation of winter para sport athletes this cycle and it’s testimony to both the talented and dedicated athletes as well as their support teams that such successes have been achieved.
“Without the support of the National Lottery and the investment to develop the Nordic programme from military charities Help for Heroes and AFPST, the level of preparation would not have been where it needs to be for athletes to deliver personal best and potentially medal winning performances in PyeongChang.
“Ultimately, we’re all here to make sure we get the team to the Games in the best shape possible and to create an environment that allows them to concentrate on doing what they do best.
“If we do that then I am fully confident that the athletes can deliver a set of powerful performances that will live long in the memory.”