10 January 2019
Knight in the hunt for more medals after PyeongChang success
World championships next up
World champion skier Millie Knight believes there are more medals to come as she gears up to defend her title at the World Para Alpine Skiing Championships later this month.
The teenager and her guide Brett Wild had a stellar 2018 where they supplied almost half of Paralympics GB’s record medals haul from the winter games in Pyeongchang.
After taking home silver in the downhill and Super-G events and then bronze in the slalom, they provided a major contribution to the seven national team medals.
Now the pair are hoping to keep their success going when they head to Sella Nevea, Italy, and Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, for the world championships – which start on January 21.
They are defending world champions in the downhill after they won gold in 2017, as they beat five-time Paralympic champion Henrieta Farkasova, of Slovakia, by 1.2 seconds.
“People might think you take it easy in the year after a Paralympics,” Knight said.
“The reality is you’re straight back into the swing of things, because it’s a World Championship year and we need to go and retain our title.
“Until we’ve got a couple of golds we’ll still have another level we can reach.”
“I’ve been doing it since the age of 12, so it’s second nature to me now. It’s great because it gives me something other than skiing to focus my mind on.”
Balancing skiing with being a student
Despite her stellar Paralympic year Knight still has the standard concerns of any teenager looking to get a degree.
She began studying philosophy and psychology at the University of Stirling last September.
Knight is used to balancing her life as a student and an elite-level athlete, having received her official call-up to Sochi 2014 while at school on her 15th birthday, she is well-versed by now in the art of juggling sport and studies.
“It’s all I’ve known,” Knight said. “I’ve been doing it since the age of 12, so it’s second nature to me now.
“It’s great because it gives me something other than skiing to focus my mind on.”
Millie Knight competing in the Paralympics last year
As much as ParalympicsGB’s youngest ever winter Paralympian enjoys burying herself in her degree, it is clear Knight is no ordinary student.
Nearly a year has passed since herself and guide Brett Wild returned from PyeongChang and the Canterbury-born teenager is still letting her achievements sink in.
“We didn’t really have a target heading into the games because the season we’d had before it had been awful,” Knight said.
“We weren’t expecting anything, so getting that first silver medal in the downhill was absolutely unreal.
“The Super-G silver was even better, and then we had the slalom bronze on the final day, which was incredible too.
“It’s fantastic to be responsible for half of the British team’s medals, we hadn’t foreseen that for sure.
“We also came fourth and seventh in two races, and they were more the sort of results we were expecting!”
Knight and Wild show off their 2018 Paralympics medals
How the pair came together
Succeeding in disciplines as fast and dangerous as Knight’s with virtually no eyesight requires a partner in whom you have absolute and unwavering faith.
However Royal Navy submariner Wild had earned that trust within minutes of the pair’s first meeting in 2015 – even if the offer to become Knight’s new guide had caused confusion initially.
“I got an email from Millie’s old coach asking if I fancied doing a trial with a visually impaired ski racer,” Wild said.
“We went to Dubai for a trial one weekend and we just got on. We had a similar sense of humour as well as similar interests and values. There was an immediate click.
“Since moving to Stirling, Millie is half an hour from my parents’ house so we train together in the gym every morning.
“My fiancé sometimes asks which person I spend more time with, and nowadays the answer is usually Millie.”
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