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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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a female Para skier heads down slope

Millie Knight

Alpine Skiing
2
1

Encouraged by her successful previous performances, alpine skier Millie Knight reached the Paralympic podium for the first time at PyeongChang 2018.

The Brit claimed silver in both the women´s downhill and super-G vision impaired events alongside guide Brett Wild. She also ended second in the overall World Cup rankings.

Four years before, Knight had become the youngest British athlete to compete at a Winter Paralympics when she took to the Russian slopes at Sochi 2014 at the age of just 15.

She was also named Great Britain’s flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony. Even though she left Sochi without a medal, Knight was only starting a so far short but fruitful career.

In 2015, she won silver in the giant slalom and bronze in the slalom at her first World Championships in Panorama, Canada.

The 2017-18 season was her most successful. Knight took her country’s only gold medal at Tarvisio 2017 in the downhill. She followed that up with three silvers in the giant slalom, slalom and super-combined.

She also finished first in the super-combined and downhill World Cup rankings, finishing second in the overall rankings behind her main opponent Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakia.

Knight lost the majority of the sight in both eyes due to an infection at a young age. She took up skiing at age seven while on holiday in Meribel, France, encouraged by her mother, who also became her first guide.

In 2013, she began training with the national Paralympic development squad. She was named the 2014 Woman of the Year in Canterbury, England.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
B2
Guide
Brett Wild, GBR, from 2016

Further personal information

Residence
Canterbury, ENG
Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
English, French
Higher education
Psychology - Stirling University: Scotland

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She first tried the sport at age six, just after she lost her sight, while on holiday in Meribel, France. She took up the sport seriously in 2012 after contacting Disability Snowsport UK .
Why this sport?
She was encouraged to try the sport by her mother, and was also inspired to become an elite athlete after attending the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. "I wasn't any good at regular sports so when I went skiing for the first time, I loved it. It's totally different to anything else I do in my life, that's why I get such a buzz from it."
Name of coach
Amanda Pirie [national], GBR; John Clark [personal]

International debut

Year
2012/13
Competing for
Great Britain
Location
Landgraaf, NED

General interest

Hobbies
Photography. (bbc.co.uk, 09 Mar 2018)
Memorable sporting achievement
Becoming Great Britain's youngest winter Paralympian at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, and winning gold at the 2017 World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy. (IPC, 10 Feb 2018)
Most influential person in career
Her mother. (Athlete, 20 Jun 2016)
Hero / Idol
Irish band 'The Script'. (IPC, 10 Feb 2018)
Injuries
Injury ruled her out of the 2019 World Championships in Slovenia and Italy. (paralympics.org.uk, 14 Jan 2019; bbc.com, 12 Jan 2019)

She sustained a concussion after crashing at the 2017 World Cup event in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. (theguardian.com, 11 Mar 2018; bbc.co.uk, 09 Mar 2018)

She crashed into a barrier after winning gold in downhill at the 2017 World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy. "It hurt a lot, my whole body was bruised, I'd hurt my ankle and banged my head. I had concussion." (IPC, 10 Feb 2018; kentonline.co.uk, 02 Feb 2017; bbc.com, 25 Jan 2017)

In August 2016 she suffered from an illness that required hospital treatment. She returned to competition in December that year. (kentonline.co.uk, 02 Feb 2017)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
At the start line she says, "You could be the greatest, you can be the best, you can be the King Kong banging on your chest," a line from 'Hall of Fame' by Irish band, 'The Script'. (bbc.co.uk, 09 Mar 2018)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"You can either have good excuses or good results but not both." (IPC, 10 Feb 2018)
Awards and honours
In July 2017 she received an honorary doctorate at the University of Kent in England. (IPC, 10 Feb 2018)

She was named the 2014 Woman of the Year in Canterbury, England. (canterburytimes.co.uk, 02 Jan 2015)

She was flag bearer for Great Britain at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. (bbc.co.uk, 06 Mar 2014)
Other sports
She has competed at regional level in rowing. (Athlete, 20 Jun 2016)
Milestones
At age 15 she became the youngest British athlete to have competed at the Paralympic Winter Games when she participated at the 2014 Games in Sochi. (Twitter profile, 10 Sep 2017; theresident.co.uk, 18 Mar 2015)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (millieknight.co.uk, 02 Oct 2018)
Impairment
She contracted the roundworm parasite toxocariasis at around age one. It lay dormant for several years but began to affect her sight at age six. Within three weeks, she had lost most of her vision. (dailymail.co.uk, 05 Dec 2012)
Other information
THERAPY
She was involved in two separate crashes close to the finishing line of races during the 2016/17 season, sustaining a concussion on both occasions. Having never been involved in a serious crash during her career before this, she began working with sports psychologist Kelley Fay in order to overcome a fear of skiing and regain her confidence ahead of the 218 Paralympic Winter Games. Fay would spend up to 90 minutes a day with her, working on how to redirect her thoughts ahead of a competition or altering Knight's body language to help her look and feel more confident. "I think now I'm much stronger mentally. When I think about my crash I smile, I don't think of it and get worried any more." (bbc.co.uk, 09 Mar 2018)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Paralympic Winter Games 2014 (Sochi, Russia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Slalom Visually Impaired Final Round 2014-03-12 5
Women's Giant Slalom Visually Impaired Final Round 2014-03-16 5
2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships Panorama (Panorama, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Giant Slalom VI Race 1 2015-03-08 2
Women's Slalom VI Race 1 2015-03-10 3
2017 IPC Alpine skiing World Championships Tarvisio, ITA (Tarvisio, Italy)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Downhill VI Race 1 2017-01-25 1
Women's Super-G VI Race 1 2017-01-26 9999
Women's Super-Combined VI Race 1 2017-01-28 2
Women's Giant Slalom VI Race 1 2017-01-30 2
Women's Slalom VI Race 1 2017-01-31 2
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Downhill Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-10 2
Women's Super-G Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-11 2
Women's Super Combined Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-13 4
Women's Giant Slalom Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-14 7
Women's Slalom Visually Impaired Final 2018-03-18 3