Great Britain’s Menna Fitzpatrick aims to capitalise on winning bronze at this year’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships by claiming a medal at her maiden Paralympic Winter Games next March.
The 19-year-old is trying to avoid risks in the lead-up to PyeongChang 2018, especially after suffering an injury last season, which is why she decided to incorporate “some alternative fitness things” and a nutritionist into her off-season routine.
“I want to just be at my peak fitness and ready for the Paralympics,” Fitzpatrick said. “That’s the same for [guide Jen Kehoe], because we’re both in this sport to get a gold.”
Fitzpatrick and Kehoe claimed a bronze medal in the women’s giant slalom visually impaired at Tarvisio 2017. It was Fitzpatrick’s first World Championships, and her first season competing with Kehoe, who previously served as guide for compatriot Millie Knight.
For next season, the duo has set even faster and higher goals. They are planning on fine-tuning their overall skills, but more specifically their technique.
Fitzpatrick and Kehoe are also working with a nutritionist from the Scottish Institute of Sport to add weight by increasing their muscle mass.
“They [the Scottish Institute of Sport] are extremely on board in helping me and Jen [Kehoe] try and fix our nutrition and make sure our muscles are repairing after a gym session,” Fitzpatrick said.
The nutritionist has suggested the skiing pair to eat “lots and often.”
Fitzpatrick and Kehoe are also trying to incorporate “some alternative fitness things” into their schedule. The duo often visit trampoline parks, go rock climbing or roller blading to improve their balance.
“We look for alternative ways [to improve],” Fitzpatrick said. “Almost like, when you’re a kid and you’re playing around, you don’t realise you’re actually running seven miles or something. It’s a bit like that, which is really fun and interesting.”
With the alternative fitness and nutrition advice, Fitzpatrick and Kehoe can only imagine what it would feel like to win a Paralympic medal at PyeongChang 2018.
“I think it would just mean everything to me,” she said. “My big inspiration is [Olympic rower] Sir Steve Redgrave. When they got the rowing golds, I met him and held his gold medal. I was just like, ‘I really want my own.’ So it would mean everything to get that gold medal around my neck, and I think it’s the same for Jen [Kehoe].”
The 2018 Paralympic Winter Games will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea, from 9-18 March.