Mitchell Gourley will represent the athlete voice on the World Para Alpine Skiing Sport Technical Committee after being re-elected as the Athlete Representative at the World Championships on Friday (27 January) in Tarvisio, Italy.
The Australian will serve a second two-year term, acting as liaison between the athletes and the decision makers in the sport, as well as a direct link to the International Paralympic Committee’s Athletes’ Council.
The vote by more than 70 athletes from 21 countries was held on a training day during the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships.
Gourley said: “It’s exciting. I’m really proud and honoured to have the chance to do it again. It’s something which is really hardwork but really rewarding.”
On his plans for the role over the next two years, Gourley continued: “I think the most important thing is establishing lines of communication with all the athletes. So going from the STC [Sport Technical Committee] through the representative to the focus group, advisory group and then out to all the athletes and really trying to establish those and get as much information as far as we can.
“Also to focus on the classification research that we are really working towards to improve classification post Korea [PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games].
The Australian had this message for other athletes that might want to get involved in the sport: “It is hardwork, but it is very rewarding. The door is always open for more help and assistance.”
A series of other world and Paralympic champions were up for the role. Great Britain’s super-G Paralympic champion Kelly Gallagher, New Zealand’s 2010 Paralympic slalom winner Adam Hall and Austria’s multiple Worlds gold medallist Claudia Loesch were also on the ballot.
The candidates were nominated for election by their National Paralympic Committees because they have strong qualities of leadership, accomplishment, knowledge and respect, both on and off the field of play.
A vote for the snowboard and Nordic skiing Sport Technical Committee Athlete Representatives will be held at the upcoming respective World Championships.
Big White, Canada, will host the 2017 World Para Snowboard Championships from 1-8 February, where 80 athletes from 25 countries will compete for qualification slots for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympic Games.
The 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships get underway in Finsterau, Germany on 10 February, featuring 135 skiers from 25 countries in the last major competition ahead of PyeongChang 2018.
The World Para Alpine Skiing Championships continue on Saturday (28 January) with the super combined. More than 110 athletes from 30 countries are competing for world titles.
All the action is being shown live, alongside live results, at Tarvisio2017.com.
The competition can also be followed on Facebook.com/ParaAlpine, Twitter and Instagram (@ParaAlpine).