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Live Paralympic Winter Games
2014 Day One Session One
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If you thought Olympic skiers were brave, just wait until you see British visually impaired skier Jade Etherington. She competes in the women’s downhill this morning, one of the first events of the Paralympics. The omens are good: she won two World Cup downhill golds in two days in January, and tomorrow is her 23rd birthday. A podium finish would be some present.
Jade was born with Axenfeld syndrome, a genetic condition that affects her sight. “When I’m skiing, I can see very little. Gates, terrain, conditions: if it’s sunny I can sometimes see hardly anything at all,” she told me.
The secret to a safe and successful descent therefore lies in the relationship with her guide Caroline Powell, who skis in front of her and issues commands via Bluetooth headset. “You have to work really hard to fine tune what each command means, especially when you’re skiing up to 65mph,” she says. “It becomes a different language after a while!”
Kelly Cates and Arthur Williams present coverage of the opening day of events in Sochi and Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, including alpine skiing and wheelchair curling. The downhill event takes centre stage at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort in Krasnaya Polyana today, and Kelly Gallagher and Jade Etherington are set to represent Great Britain in the women's visually impaired category, while Anna Turney features in the women's sitting category. Meanwhile, Great Britain's wheelchair curling team face Canada in their first match of the tournament at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi.
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