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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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female Para alpine skier Menna Fitzpatrick

Menna Fitzpatrick

Alpine Skiing
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Menna Fitzpatrick became Great Britain's most decorated Winter Paralympian after a fantastic performance at her debut Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018.

The young alpine skier, guided by Jennifer Kehoe, took gold in the women’s slalom vision impaired, silver in the giant slalom and super-combined, and bronze in the super-G.

She also ended second in the overall World Cup standings.

One year before, she had taken bronze in giant slalom at her maiden World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy.

In 2015-16, Fitzpatrick became the first British skier to win the overall women’s vision impaired World Cup.

Fitzpatrick had impressed all season long, stealing multiple podiums on her debut season on the circuit. She edged out her US rival Danelle Umstead by just 10 points.

Her rapid rise has led to national acclaim.

Fitzpatrick received the 2016 Evie Pinching Award, given to an athlete aged 24 and under who is considered an emerging talent by the Ski Club of Great Britain.

The youngster is the latest vision impaired skier to come out of Great Britain, in addition to Millie Knight who stole the show at the 2015 World Championships with a silver and bronze in the giant slalom and slalom respectively.

Fitzpatrick’s idol is five-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
B2
Guide
Jennifer Kehoe

Further personal information

Residence
Macclesfield, ENG
Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
English
Higher education
Media Production - Macclesfield College: England

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She first tried the sport at age five while on holiday with her family in Les Gets, France.
Why this sport?
Her family used to go on skiing holidays and encouraged her to take up the sport. In October 2010 she was noticed by a coach at the Chill Factore in Manchester, England, and began training regularly with the British Para Snowsport team. "I loved the feeling of adrenaline running through my body."
Club / Team
Disability Snowsport UK: Great Britain
Name of coach
Amanda Pirie [national], GBR

General interest

Hobbies
Singing in a choir, walking her dog, watching movies, listening to music. (paralympic.org, 21 Jan 2017; sportsaid.org.uk, 01 Apr 2014)
Memorable sporting achievement
Becoming the first British alpine skier to win an overall vision impaired World Cup globe in 2016, and winning bronze in giant slalom at the 2017 World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, after recovering from a broken hand. (Athlete, 05 Mar 2018)
Most influential person in career
Guide Jennifer Kehoe, and her coaches. (Athlete, 05 Mar 2018)
Hero / Idol
British rower Steve Redgrave, British alpine skier Dave Ryding. (Athlete, 05 Mar 2018)
Injuries
She broke her hand after falling during super G training ahead of the 2016/17 season. She required surgery and was unable to train on the snow for eight weeks. (snowsportwales.co.uk, 24 Apr 2017; bbc.co.uk, 25 Jan 2017)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I love going fast. It is the one thing I always want to be doing." (paralympic.org, 21 Jan 2017)
Awards and honours
In 2018 she was named Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. (paralympic.org, 11 Jun 2018)

She was named Disability Sportswoman of the Year by British newspaper Sunday Times in 2018. (paralympic.org, 02 Nov 2018)

She received the 2017 Inspiring Young Woman Award in England. (inspiringawards.co.uk, 28 Sep 2017)

She received the 2016 Evie Pinching Award, which is given to an athlete who is aged 24 or under and is considered an emerging talent by the Ski Club of Great Britain. (skiclub.co.uk, 31 May 2016)
Milestones
She is the first British Para alpine skier to have won gold at both the Paralympic Winter Games and the world championships. She claimed victory in slalom at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, and then triumphed in downhill at the 2019 World Championships in Slovenia and Italy. (SportsDeskOnline, 05 Feb 2019; paralympic.org, 31 Jan 2019)

In 2016 she became the first British alpine skier to win an overall vision impaired World Cup globe. (snowsportwales.co.uk, 31 Mar 2016)
Impairment
She was born with congenital retinal folds. She has no vision in her left eye and limited vision in her right eye. (mennaandjen.co.uk, 03 Nov 2017)
Other information
TEAMWORK
She and her guide Jennifer Kehoe began competing together in 2015. The pair have developed a close bond due to the amount of time they spend training, as well as the extra work they have to do off the slopes to perfect their communication so that Fitzpatrick gets clear instructions through the bluetooth headset she has in her helmet. Both athletes say their relationship has become almost instinctive, which meant they were still able to secure gold after the bluetooth failed during the slalom event at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. "Every day we are learning something new, testing new skis, skiing on different terrain, snow. All those challenges have added to our experiences and made us better athletes. It's been really good fun to turn what is usually an individual sport into a team sport." (paralympic.org, 29 Nov 2018; telegraph.co.uk, 22 Nov 2018)

Results

Unit Date Rank
2017 IPC Alpine skiing World Championships Tarvisio, ITA (Tarvisio, Italy)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Downhill VI Race 1 2017-01-25 5
Women's Super-G VI Race 1 2017-01-26 4
Women's Super-Combined VI Race 1 2017-01-28 5
Women's Giant Slalom VI Race 1 2017-01-30 3
Women's Slalom VI Race 1 2017-01-31 4
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Downhill Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-10 9999
Women's Super-G Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-11 3
Women's Super Combined Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-13 2
Women's Giant Slalom Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-14 2
Women's Slalom Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-18 1
Kranjska Gora/Sella Nevea 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships (Kranjska Gora/Sella Nevea, Slovenia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Giant Slalom VI Race 1 2019-01-22 3
Women's Slalom VI Race 1 2019-01-24 2
Women's Downhill VI Race 1 2019-01-30 1
Women's Super-Combined VI Race 1 2019-01-31 2
Women's Super-G VI Race 1 (from SC) 2019-01-31 1