6 March 2022
Neil Simpson wins Super-G Gold with brother Andrew
Neil Simpson win ParalympicsGB's first Gold at Beijing 2022
Neil Simpson claimed ParalympicGB’s first gold of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games on day two of competition at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre with a phenomenal win in the men’s Super-G Vision Impaired class, alongside his guide and brother Andrew.
The pair clocked 1:08.91 to finish nearly 0.5 seconds clear of the rest of the field, topping the podium at their first ever Paralympic Games.
The 19-year-old, who is the first British male athlete to win a gold on snow, said: “I am just really thrilled, it’s not really sunk in yet. This is our first season doing Super-G. Initially when we came down and Andrew said we had gone in to first place, there was a bit of an anxious wait.
“I wasn’t thinking about it being a winning performance, I was just thinking that it was a good run. We put it all down on the line and really went for it and I’m just very happy with the performance – it felt good. There was a sketchy moment coming into the bowl but we knew we needed to get back on it and really went for it down the bowl, so I’m really happy with that.
We put it all down on the line
“Yesterday gave us a good boost for today – we went out with some clear goals and achieved them. We knew what we wanted to do today, come out with the same attitude and I think we did that well. I could tell it was quick but I didn’t know how special it was.
“Tomorrow the first run is the same again, the same hill (the super combined), so we will lay down a performance there and try to do the same we as we did today then see what we can do in the slalom. “
On sharing the winning moment with his brother Andrew, Neil said: “It’s very special, we’ve been skiing together for quite a while, and growing up together, it just makes it really special.
‘For me it definitely helps having Andrew with me, you are able to be very clear and concise in what you want - even direct and blunt sometimes, so you can get feedback across a lot easier. You don’t have to beat around the bush so that definitely helps, we grew up together so we know what each other is thinking anyway.”
Guide Andrew said: “I’m absolutely delighted, it’s something I never thought was going to happen when we first started this at all. The race went as planned, at the race inspection we were like, this needs to be attacked from the get-go, and we went and did exactly that.
“Our communication was pretty standard, we kept it calm, kept it precise. We called our family earlier and they were absolutely delighted, they’ve got a few family and friends round and everyone’s ecstatic. We spend all the time together, especially here - we share a room, go to meals together, but it means we know exactly what each other wants and needs.”
Most decorated: Menna and Gary at the finish
Earlier Menna Fitzpatrick became the most decorated British Winter Paralympian in history by winning a silver medal in the Super G Vision Impaired at Beijing 2022 to take her overall tally to five.
The 23-year-old , who comes from Macclesfield, and Guide Gary Smith took advantage of superb conditions at the Yangqing National Alpine Skiing Centre to record a time of 1:18.79
Millie Knight and Guide Brett Wild were agonisingly close to the podium finishing in fourth place in a time of 1:19.39.
The medal was made even more special as Menna’s Guide Katie Guest was unable to travel to China because of a positive Covid test.
Menna, who won four medals at PyeongChang 2018 said: “I am feeling absolutely amazing! I can’t quite believe it, we just wanted to build on the day before and we are super, super happy.
“Gary and I have trained quite a long time and have been building up the relationship and that really helped coming into this. I am super happy he is my guide I couldn’t wish for anything better!
“I am so happy to be most successful British Winter paralympian that is not what we came out to do today though, we went out to ski well, so to come out with a silver medal and a pretty amazing title as well means we are delighted.
“Just before the pandemic I broke my leg, Gary was guiding me at the time, and he was a great support during my rehab and to come through that and Covid as well make this really special.
“I had such an amazing time today I just want to go out there and do it again.”
Guide Gary Smith, from Luton, said: “I got a bit emotional with Menna at the finish line as it’s a really special moment I have known Menna since 2016 and she did brilliantly today
“The hill is unbelievable, the snow is great and skis are gripping really well. The experience of Pyeongchang and skiing with Kelly Gallagher who had experience of two Paralympic games has helped me and I have gone into these games trying to keep nice and calm and it paid off today
“The moment I met Menna it was great as I always used to sit next to her at dinner because she never finished it and I could steal seconds - it a pleasure to guide with her!”
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