Paralympic Winter Games
7-16 March

Australia announce Sochi 2014 Paralympic team

Six alpine skiers and three snowboarders are heading to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games for Australia. 04 Feb 2014
A picture of a man skiing on the slopes

Mitch Gourley is one of Australia's top alpine skiier heading into the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

ⒸMarcus Hartmann
By Australian Paralympic Committee

The Australian team also includes three snowboarders, with snowboard cross on the Paralympic programme for the first time in 2014.

With just 31 days to go until the opening of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) has announced its team of 11 athletes to represent Australia at what is predicted to be the largest Paralympic Winter Games yet.

Australia will send six alpine skiers, two sighted guides and for the first time, three snowboarders to the Russian city, with veteran Cameron Rahles-Rahbula set to compete at his fourth and final Games.

The 30-year-old was Australia’s best performed athlete in Vancouver 2010 with two bronze medals in the slalom and super-combined, and retired from the sport in mid-2013 only to return months later for one final tilt at a winter Paralympic medal.

Rahles-Rahbula will be joined by two-time Paralympian and Torino bronze medallist Toby Kane and Vancouver Paralympian and current world No. 1 in the giant slalom, Mitchell Gourley in the men’s standing class.

Vancouver bronze medallist and vision impaired athlete Jessica Gallagher made her return to ski racing in September with new guide Christian Geiger, after competing in athletics at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

As the first Australian female to compete at both the summer and winter Paralympic Games, Gallagher has again been selected to the team and heads into Sochi in formidable condition, as does teammate and rival Melissa Perrine and her guide Andrew Bor, with both pairs winning a number of IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup gold medals this season.

Twenty-three-year-old Victoria Pendergast completes Australia’s alpine skiing contingent as the nation’s first female sit skier to compete at a Paralympic Games.

The Australian team also includes three snowboarders, with snowboard cross on the Paralympic programme for the first time in 2014.

With the help of two additional wildcard places awarded to Australia last week, the APC has selected 41-year-old Trent Milton, 19-year-old Joany Badenhorst and 14-year-old Ben Tudhope as Australia’s first Paralympic snowboarders.

“I’d like to congratulate all athletes on their selection to the 2014 Australian Paralympic Winter Team,” said APC President Glenn Tasker.

“Whether it’s your first Games or your second, third or fourth, it is always a great honour to represent your country and I look forward to watching the team’s performances and sharing them with the rest of Australia during the Games.

Chris Nunn, 2014 Australian Paralympic Winter Team Chef de Mission said the team as a whole is reaching its peak at the right time, as they continue to compete on the European leg of the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup season after a successful North American leg.

“We have a very strong group of experienced, talented alpine skiers,” said Nunn.

“All of them except for Victoria have been to a Paralympic Games before, all of them have won medals over the last two World Cup seasons and all of them are medal contenders in Sochi.

“It might be a bit soon to expect medals from our three snowboarders given how new the sport is to the Paralympic Winter Games, but that said, they won’t be in Sochi just to make up the numbers either.

“Trent has a lifetime of snowboarding behind him before acquiring his disability, young Ben has grown up on the snow and Joany has a strong athletics background which is translating well across to winter sport.”

The APC hopes the team will improve on its performance from the Vancouver 2010 Games, where they won a silver and three bronze medals to finish 16th on the medals table

It will cost the AUD $1.4 million to send the team to Sochi, with $200,000 of the budget still outstanding. As a charity, the APC relies on donations from the Australian public to send Paralympic teams to the summer and winter Games and two weeks ago launched the “Believe” campaign to raise the remaining funds. Members of the public can pledge their belief in the Australian Paralympic Team by donating at

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will take place from 7-16 March, 2014.

2014 Australian Paralympic Winter team

Alpine skiing

Jessica Gallagher – Geelong, VIC

Christian Geiger (guide for Jessica Gallagher) – Bright, VIC

Mitchell Gourley – Geelong, VIC

Toby Kane – South Melbourne, VIC

Victoria Pendergast – Gosford, NSW

Melissa Perrine – Welby, NSW

Andrew Bor (guide for Melissa Perrine) – Tugun, QLD

Cameron Rahles-Rahbula – Geelong, VIC


Joany Badenhorst – Griffith, NSW

Trent Milton – Bonny Hills, NSW

Ben Tudhope – Seaforth, NSW