Imagen
a female Para skier heads down slope

Millie Knight

Alpine Skiing
2
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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
Massage Therapist, Student
Languages
English, French

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
Jo Ryding [personal[; Hammy Morrison [personal]

International debut

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

General interest

Hobbies
Photography, karate and other martial arts, rowing. (Instagram profile, 21 Oct 2020; Facebook profile, 03 Oct 2020; kentonline.co.uk, 13 Nov 2019; 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. (themindmap.co.uk, 01 Mar 2018)
Injuries
A back injury and ongoing issues from her concussion in 2017 saw her take a break from competition during the 2018/19 season. (paralympics.org.uk, 21 Jan 2020; 14 Jan 2019; kentonline.co.uk, 13 Nov 2019; bbc.com, 12 Jan 2019)

She sustained a concussion after crashing at the 2017 World Cup event in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, which continued to affect her for the next two years, including at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (paralympic.org, 21 Jan 2020; 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, which resulted in concussion and bruising to various parts of her body. (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
She was named Parasport Athlete of the Year at the 2020 Racer Ready Awards in Great Britain. (racer-ready.co.uk, 10 Jul 2020)

In July 2017 she received an honorary doctorate from 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
She became the youngest British athlete to have competed at the Paralympic Winter Games when she competed in slalom at the 2014 Games in Sochi at age 15 years and 56 days. (paralympics.org.uk, 2018)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (Facebook page, 20 Oct 2020)
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
INJURY BREAK AND RETURN
Following her 2017 concussion she continued skiing, including at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, despite suffering from balance issues related to the concussion. "I was in a bad way. I was struggling with my balance, and I just felt not myself. It was a very difficult time." She decided to take a break from competition in the 2018/19 season to fully recover from the concussion, as well as a back injury she had picked up. She focused on her psychology studies at the University of Kent and continued training, but did not compete. She returned to international competition in January 2020. "I never really rested from my concussion and my crash because it was the Games year [in 2018]. I never had that time to fully recover, so last season [2018/19] I thought, I'm going to just train. Races weren't my focus at that point. It [having a year off] made me stronger. I'm fitter, healthier, happier than I was. All good steps in the right direction." She said she did consider not returning to competition. "That's a question that I battled with too, but I thought, you know what, I was so close at the [2018] Games - I was 0.86s behind gold [in downhill] - and I just thought, I've worked pretty much half my life to get here. I haven't come this far to only come this far." (paralympic.org, 21 Jan 2020)

PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAINING
Following two concussions in 2016/17 she began working with sports psychologist Kelley Fay in order to overcome a fear of crashing and regain her confidence ahead of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Fay would spend up to 90 minutes a day with her, working on redirecting her thoughts ahead of a competition and altering her body language to help her 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