Bourne skier Jade Etherington on track for Sochi 2014

Skier'28/12/11'6,Mountbatten Way, Bourne'Jade Etherington, with Euro Cup Trophies.
Skier'28/12/11'6,Mountbatten Way, Bourne'Jade Etherington, with Euro Cup Trophies.
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Bourne’s para-alpine skier Jade Etherington is aiming to make history by winning GB’s first gold medal at the Winter Paralympics if she is selected for the Sochi 2014 Games.

The British team for the Paralympic games taking place in Russia in March will be announced on January 23.

But after a barnstorming ski season, 22-year-old Etherington looks certain to not only feature, but to compete for a medal.

Etherington said: “Our hopes for Sochi are to perform at our best and hopefully that will result in a podium for GB.

“Medals only come with the right preparations, conditions, strength and performance but, with all that, anything is possible.”

Selection will be an achievement in itself as Paralympics GB are expected to only send a team of between 10 and 12 athletes to Sochi 2014; made up of five wheelchair curlers and between five and seven skiers.

Etherington, a former Deepings School pupil, competes in the slalom despite only having five percent of her vision. She was born with Axenfield’s syndrome, a genetic condition that causes fluid blockages in the eye and can lead to total blindness.

She competes as part of a team with guide Caroline Powell, who skis in front of her to give radio directions.

Etherington is already competing for The British Disabled Ski Team and has been winning medals around the world this season.

She is already used to the Russian slopes having won bronze at the IPC World Cup finals in Sochi in March.

Etherington and Powell kicked-off the IPC Alpine Skiing season with a bronze in the Women’s VI Category World Cup Slalom race at Coronet Peak, New Zealand, in August - going one better a day later, winning a silver.

In November the pair won two silvers in the women’s super-G in Panorama, Canada.

Moving on to Copper in the USA, they won a pair of bronze medals in the IPC AS Noram Cup. Then, in the season’s first Europa Cup meeting, they won the giant slalom and super-G in Pitztal, Germany.

The young skier then beat GB teammate Kelly Gallagher, and guide Charlotte Evans, to gold in the women’s slalom in Kuhtai, Austria, on December 19. The next day Gallagher, one of the favourites for gold for the Sochi Games having come fourth in Vancouver in 2010, reversed the finishing order leaving Etherington with silver.

Etherington and Powell are currently in Canada training with the games just 54 days
away. Etherington said: “Caroline and I have been working hard both on and off the hill working on strength, technique, distance and commands for each discipline.

“Our performance has improved and we hope to further this in the near future ready to peak at Sochi if we are selected.”