World champion Knight looking to add more medals to collection in PyeongChang
Millie Knight still smiles when she remembers the shock of being selected for her Paralympic debut.
Back then, she was just 15 and by her own admission was not expecting to be on the plane to Sochi – never mind carrying the Union Jack into the opening ceremony.
But fast forward the clock almost four years and it’s an entirely different story. Now 18, Knight is a downhill world champion with her target set on gold on the biggest stage of all.
The PyeongChang Winter Paralympics have always been Knight’s goal, the Games in which she would come into her own and challenge the very best para skiers in the world.
And while she already had experience under her belt, Knight now has the confidence and the preparation to go with it – 2018 is her time to shine and she’s going to grasp the opportunity with both hands.
“Last season I became world champion with my guide Brett Wild – that was a really fantastic start and preparation for the Games,” said Knight, who placed fifth in both the slalom and giant slalom in Sochi.
“Now I’m stronger and we’re ready for our season and hopefully we can do well at the Games next year.
“It was a totally different build up to when I went to Sochi. Prior to then, I wasn’t intending to go. My goal was and still is 2018.
“Every squat you do, every deadlift that hurts, you know you’re getting closer to that medal.” Millie Knight
“So for my dream to be brought forward four years was a shock – a fantastic shock, but still a shock, and so I wasn’t prepared in the same way I am now.
“We have so much support in physiologists, psychologists and support staff, and so from that perspective, we’re in a much better place.”
The Winter Paralympic Games get underway in South Korea in March but before then Knight has the small hurdle of qualification to conquer.
With Sochi 2014 Paralympic gold medallist Kelly Gallagher and 2016 IPC World Cup winner Menna Fitzpatrick also seeking selection, the British squad looks stronger than ever.
The winter season gets underway in Landgraaf this week although it’s not until December that the pressure really ramps up, but Knight knows only too well all the hard work will be worth it.
“In and around Christmas time is when the majority of the World Cups are, and that will be the time we get selected, so that’s definitely a really important time for me to do well. It’s an exciting time,” she added.
“My main success at the Games would be to cross the line with a smile on my face! I guess every morning you wake up with the aim of winning gold.
“You don’t go to the gym thinking ‘I’m going to try and come fourth’.
“Every squat you do, every deadlift that hurts, you know you’re getting closer to that medal.”