18th March 2018
Menna Fitzpatrick and her guide Jen Kehoe are top of the podium in the women’s visually-impaired slalom at the Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang. NEW & UPDATED
The pair had already won two silvers and a bronze in the Games.
The gold makes them ParalympicsGB’s most decorated Winter athletes with four medals.
It is GB’s only gold of the Games and only the second-ever Winter Paralympic gold.
The victory was followed by the announcement that Fitzpatrick would carry the flag for GB at the closing ceremony, which took place later on Sunday.
Britain’s Millie Knight and Brett Wild won bronze for GB to add to their two silvers.
Slovakia’s Henrieta Farkasova and Natalia Subrtova, who had won gold in every other alpine race, took silver.
It means the ParalympicsGB team meet their UK Sport target of 6-12 medals with the ambition of seven.
All seven medals came from the two alpine pairings: Fitzpatrick and Kehoe, and Knight and Wild.
The total medal haul is one ahead of the six won at Sochi in 2014.
“I can’t believe it, the whole journey has been really long, with quite a few ups and downs along the way but it’s just amazing to be here,” Fitzpatrick said.
“Jen calmed me down, as did the coaches, family and everyone really, we had a giggle and did some singing and just got everything out of the system.
“Our main aim was to just go and have fun and try and beat our previous time, however well Farkasova can ski, that’s something that’s out of our control and we just tried to ski as well as we can.
“We fought the whole way down, Jen just told me to go from halfway down so we did. We went out with a bang!
“Jen didn’t have to say anything – she just jumped on me! She just gave me the biggest hug she’s had in her life and no words were needed.”
On being chosen to carry the flag at the closing ceremony Fitzpatrick said: “I’m absolutely honoured to carry the flag for GB, because it means so much to me after what we’ve been through this week. What a way to top off today, it couldn’t have gone any better.”
Watch the winning run here:
“Words don’t even cover what we’re feeling right now, it hasn’t properly sunk in and we left everything out there on that hill, we fought right to the very end,” Jen Kehoe said.
“We had a few tears this morning, a ski boot fell on Menna’s head – but I think I’m going to have to push her over more often because she comes back from these things brilliantly.
“After the super-combined slalom we knew that it was close, we knew it was possible to beat Henrieta (Farkasova) because we have done that this season – we just went for it and did everything that was in our control.
“Because I’d seen the split times, I’d seen that Henrieta’s final split was down by a fraction and I dared to believe it was possible at that point.
“When they came over the finish line and it was red, I was speechless and it was such a proud moment, a dream come true.
“It’s a lot to take in, especially from all the support we’ve had back home, we got some amazing messages from our family here and back home, just wishing us all the best and I think that probably played a part.”
See here for our earlier report on our medal success at the Paralympics.
The gold comes after a difficult start to the Games for Fitzpatrick and Kehoe when they failed to get a medal in the opening-day downhill event.
They recovered to claim super-G bronze before adding giant slalom and super-combined silvers and topping the week off by becoming Winter Paralympic slalom champions.
Congratulations have been coming in.
“Menna and Jen have had an amazing Paralympic debut,” the Chef de Mission for ParalympicsGB, Penny Briscoe said.
“To come to their first Games and win gold, two silvers and a bronze is a remarkable achievement, and one of which they should be so proud.
“To deliver at a consistently high level across a very demanding programme illustrates not only their talent but also their tenacity and determination, making Menna the perfect choice to carry the Union flag at tonight’s Closing Ceremony.
“It has been thrilling to watch this very talented partnership perform in PyeongChang and I know that every ParalympicsGB team member will be cheering like mad when they enter the stadium with the Union flag tonight, just as they did for that thrilling slalom.
“They’ve been fearless in their racing and now is the time to enjoy the final moments of these incredible Games.”
The President of the ParalympicsGB delegation, Professor Nick Webborn said: “It’s a huge honour for Menna to be chosen to carry the flag for the team as this Games comes to a close.
“Like everyone back at home, we are hugely proud of Menna and Jen and of their fantastic success in PyeongChang, which is the culmination of many years of hard work.”
And all of us at PlanetSKI would like to add our huge congratulations.
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