18 March 2018
A golden finish for Fitzpatrick and Kehoe
A Golden Day
The path to success is never conventional for Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe after they danced out of the gates on their way to becoming Paralympic slalom champions and Great Britain’s most decorated Paralympic winter athletes of all time.
Earlier in the week it was laughing at the thought of butterflies drinking tea while doing yoga that helped the duo onto the podium but the pair found a new way to relax before they embarked on their final race of PyeongChang 2018 and it worked to devastating effect.
Fitzpatrick and Kehoe’s slalom gold takes Britain’s total medal tally to seven at the end of the Games after Millie Knight and Brett Wild also claimed a slalom bronze – their third medal of the Games.
Day Nine had not started ideally for Fitzpatrick with nerves and fatigue setting in from a tumultuous week that saw the pair miss the podium places on their first race but bounce back to claim two silvers and a bronze in their next three.
And, as the teenager began to feel overwhelmed by the moment on Sunday, singing a song and dancing eased the pressure and proved to be the perfect tonic.
Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe after collecting their medals
Dancing to victory
“This morning I didn’t have the greatest start, you wouldn’t have thought it was our day,” said Fitzpatrick.
“I was exhausted after this whole period of racing; the nerves and the emotion were just overwhelming so that didn’t make for a great start.
“Having fun changed everything a lot, we just went out there and did our own thing and looked at the achievements.
“We just sang songs and danced and it made me feel a lot better and it seemed to work. We may have been dancing in the start gate!
“We just needed something to make us giggle and that calmed me down.”
Millie Knight and Brett Wild with their medals
Final run seals it
The first of Day Nine’s slalom runs held true to form with Slovakia’s Henrieta Farkasova and Natalia Subrtova putting down the fastest time of 53.58 with Fitzpatrick and Kehoe marginally behind and Knight and Wild 0.04 seconds off their compatriots.
A 57.96 for Fitzpatrick on her second run bumped Knight from top spot and Farkasova could only manage to clock 58.88 to take second – Kelly Gallagher and Gary Smith finishing sixth.
“Words don’t even cover what we’re feeling right now, it hasn’t properly sunk and we left everything out there on that hill, we fought right to the very end,” said Kehoe.
“After the super-combined slalom we knew that it was close, we knew it was possible to beat Henrieta because we have done that this season – we just went for it and did everything that was in our control.”
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