For most people, the thought of competing at an elite level in one sport is unrealistic, yet Rachel Morris is readying herself for a World Championship appearance in her third.

The double Paralympic champion won hand-cycling gold in Beijing in 2008 before successfully switching to para-rowing in Rio eight years later, where she won gold in the single sculls.

But she is now four-months into her third major sporting transition as she adds another surface to her sporting repertoire: land, water and now snow.

Despite her limited experience, Morris’ remarkable rise has seen her qualify for the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Canada, where she is set to compete in all three of the competition’s cross-country events.

And while it may seem a daunting process, it is one that Morris has approached with no shortage of vigour, despite having to come to terms with some obvious adaptations.

“It’s really exciting actually, I have to say,” she explained.


“You go from Rio where it’s up to 34 degrees to here, where it’s -20!"

Rachel Morris

“I have transitioned in two sports and it’s been summer Games each time, so to look at going across to winter Games puts a totally different dimension on it.

“You go from Rio where it’s up to 34 degrees to here, where it’s -20! It’s a lot of learning to look after yourself in a completely different way, because of the cold you have to treat your body in a very different way to make it perform. I’ve found it really interesting actually.

“There are some things that I definitely learnt from changing before that I have been able to apply, which have meant that I think I’m in a much better place much quicker going into this sport.”

Morris is one of five British competitors competing in Prince George, with a new-look team including three World Championship first-timers, spearheaded by experienced duo Scott Meenagh and Steve Arnold.

The 39-year-old is joined by former para-sailing world champion Steve Thomas as well as Callum Deboys as more British athletes are handed opportunities to take up the sport.

And while Morris heads to Canada having already competed in two World Cup events so far this season, she is battling with a set of personal expectations that have driven her to three Paralympic medals - with a hand-cycling bronze at London 2012 going alongside her Beijing gold.

Morris won London 2012 bronze as a hand-cyclist

“One of the hardest things is going from being a Paralympic champion to being not anything, in the sense that you’ve gone into a new sport and haven’t proved anything,” she continued.

“It’s one of the hardest things to do, but it’s also one of the best things and it’s the bit that I really enjoy.

“I really like and enjoy the new ways of working with people and taking the skills that I’ve learned with one sport and being able to apply things or being able to use your body in a different way.

“Hopefully I’ve started to prove that I will be able to get somewhere in it, but it’s a long way up.

“I’ve qualified, which is much more than I thought I’d do.”

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