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13136-Talan Skeels-Piggins photo

Talan Skeels-Piggins

Alpine Skiing

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
LW10-1

Further personal information

Residence
Ashtead, ENG
Occupation
Coach, Motivational Speaker, Public Speaker
Languages
English, French
Higher education
Coaching, Physical Education - University of Chichester: England

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He first tried skiing at age nine. He took up Para alpine skiing after his accident at age 34.
Why this sport?
He was made aware of Para alpine skiing while recovering from his accident by a former patient. "He told me that I could still go skiing, that he'd just been and that was the switch. I then decided that I would actually not just go skiing but that I was going to represent my country and go to the Paralympics. And that then became my focus and my drive."

International debut

Year
2005
Competing for
Great Britain
Location
Austria

General interest

Nicknames
Two Dads [because his double-barrelled family name suggests he has two fathers]. (Athlete, 29 Dec 2010)
Hobbies
Motorcycling, motor racing, sailing, diving, surfing, fitness, archery, travelling, handcycling. (upliftingvoices.org, 01 Jan 2019)
Most influential person in career
His teammates. (Athlete, 29 Dec 2010)
Hero / Idol
Italian motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi. (Athlete, 29 Dec 2010)
Injuries
In 2008 he broke a bone after crashing in the Serre Chevalier downhill race in France. (Athlete, 29 Dec 2010)

He broke his right foot after crashing during the 2007 Meribel downhill race in France. (Athlete, 29 Dec 2010)

In 2006 he broke his back after being dragged into a metal pylon. (Athlete, 29 Dec 2010)

In 2005 he suffered a broken neck after colliding with another skier. (Athlete, 29 Dec 2010)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Love life, live life." (Athlete, 29 Dec 2010)
Awards and honours
He took part in the torch relay ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, carrying the torch through Bath, England. (familyskinews.com, 23 May 2012)
Other sports
He has competed in international Para motorcycle racing, and won 600cc world titles in the paralysed category in 2015 and 2018. He has also competed in able-bodied motorcycle racing in the United Kingdom. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2018; motorcyclenews.com, 22 Jun 2015)
Impairment
He has paraplegia from the chest down after he was involved in a motorcycle accident in March 2003 that led to his spine being shattered and his neck being broken in several places. His odds of survival were estimated at 1%. He was told he would spend up to two years in hospital upon admission, but he was discharged just over six months later. In less than a year, he was back on the ski slopes in a specially adapted sit-ski. (britishdisabledskiteam.co.uk, 13 Dec 2010, bbc.co.uk, 03 Feb 2009)
Other information
CHARITY WORK
In 2011 he founded a charity called 'The Bike Experience', which teaches motorcyclists with impairments how to ride again. "We show them that what they thought was 'impossible' is actually possible. It changes their outlook on life, allowing them to see that all other goals are well within their grasp. It improves self-esteem, balance, co-ordination, independence and self-belief. All those who come, as riders or volunteers, leave from the day with something magical and unique to this groundbreaking charity. I assess each rider and help to plan their experience to give maximum enjoyment and success. Each rider has different needs and requires a very specific approach which is tailored to their own needs." (LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2018)

CHANGING VIEWS ON PARA ATHLETES
He believes the 2012 Paralympic Games in London were a focal point in changing the perception of Para athletes and growing the profile of Paralympians. "I think it has shown a wider audience the high levels of commitment, dedication and performance that the Paralympic Games demand. After London 2012 I was in a supermarket and a young boy spotted me. Usually kids stare and then ask their mother why I can't walk. This time the boy came up to me and asked me if I was a Paralympian and whether I competed in sport. It was fantastic, the child saw a potential athlete, not someone that just couldn't walk. His perception has been changed forever." (disabilityhorizons.com, 18 Feb 2013)

FURTHER EDUCATION
After completing a degree in physical education teaching and coaching at the University of Chichester, he went on to study sports performance at the University of Bath in England, before returning to the University of Chichester to study for a master's degree in education. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2018)

RETAINED IN ROYAL NAVY
As a young man he joined the Royal Navy and its ski team, leaving after nine years to become a physical education teacher. In 2006, he became the first officer to be retained in the Armed Forces following paralysis, and was based at HMS Flying Fox in Bristol, England, as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy Reserves. (britishdisabledskiteam.co.uk, 13 Dec 2010)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games (Vancouver, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Giant Slalom Sitting Final Round 15
Men's Super-G Sitting Final Round 25
Men's Slalom Sitting Final Round 31
IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships (Kangwonland, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Super-G Sitting Run 2 2009-02-24 31
2011 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships (Sestriere, Italy)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Super-G Sitting Final 2011-01-18 20