25 March 2018
PyeongChang 2018: Our greatest Paralympic Winter Games
With the action now complete and the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games officially the most successful in ParalympicsGB’s history with a superb seven medals, we look back on the moments that made the Games so special
It all started with a bang as Millie Knight and Brett Wild took opening-day downhill silver and it finished in equally stunning fashion with Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe clinching an incredible slalom gold.
For Fitzpatrick and Kehoe gold was the culmination of a journey through the Games that took them from despair to elation and saw them claim four Paralympic medals along the way to become the most decorated British Winter Paralympians in history.
Wild and Knight embrace on Day One
Knight and Wild meanwhile had their own battles with double silver followed by a drop in performances before they found a second-wind to take a closing-day bronze to take ParalympicsGB to a superb seven medals.
There was plenty of history made elsewhere with Great Britain having representation in Para snowboard for the first time while Scott Meenagh became the first British athlete to compete in Para Nordic skiing since Terry Ahrens in Nagano 1998.
And Great Britain’s wheelchair curlers had a tournament of highs and lows with emphatic victories over eventual bronze and silver medallists Canada and Norway but missing out on a semi-final place by a matter of centimetres
Here’s how it all unfolded for ParalympicsGB.
Jumping for joy: a golden end to the Games
Para alpine skiing
It was on the slopes at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre where two teenagers dealt with the pressure of the Paralympic Games like seasoned veterans and showed Great Britain’s prowess as a winter-sport nation.
Knight, in her second Paralympic Games, got Britain off to a flying start as she and Wild produced a sensational downhill performance to claim silver on Day One.
Super-G silver came a day later with Fitzpatrick and Kehoe also getting off the mark with a bronze medal on Day Two.
Three more medals were to come for Fitzpatrick and Kehoe as they clinched giant slalom and super-combined silvers and closed their Games with an incredible slalom gold – Knight and Wild also making their way back to the podium with slalom bronze.
There were also strong performances from Sochi 2014 gold medallist Kelly Gallagher as she and guide Gary Smith finished fifth in the giant slalom, seventh in the super combined, eighth in the super-G and sixth in the slalom.
It was a solid Games for James Whitley who picked up two top-ten finishes in the slalom and downhill as he looks to build towards Beijing 2022. Chris Lloyd was cheered on by his proud family as he raced in the men’s standing downhill and Super G events at his first Paralympic games.
Silver start for Knight and Wild
There was a small slice of history on Day Three when James Barnes-Miller left the gate for his first snowboard cross run as he became the first athlete British athlete to compete in the sport at Paralympic level.
He was followed closely out of the gate by teammates Ben Moore and Owen Pick though all three missed the medal places Barnes-Miller putting in the best showing by reaching the quarter finals and eventually losing out to gold medallist Simon Patmore.
The boarders were back in action in the banked slalom on Day Eight with Moore finishing seventh and Barnes-Miller tenth in the SB-UL while Pick placed ninth in the SB-LL2.
Hoverboard: Ben Moore flying in snowboard cross
Para Nordic skiing
Six races in eight days with nearly 60km covered – it was no easy introduction to the Paralympic Games for Scott Meenagh.
Meenagh’s best result came in the men’s 12.5km sitting biathlon event where he finished 13th while he also narrowly missed out on a semi-final spot in the 1.1km cross-country sprint event.
After ending the 20-year wait for British representation in Para Nordic skiing, the focus is very much on four years’ time and the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.
Awe-inspiring: Scott Meenagh
Great Britain’s wheelchair curling team of skip Aileen Neilson, Hugh Nibloe, Gregor Ewan, Bob McPherson and Angie Malone opened their competition with a convincing 5-2 victory over world champions Norway.
A 7-4 defeat to Switzerland was quickly rectified with three consecutive dominant victories, first a 9-2 win over Finland followed by a 6-1 victory over Sweden and then an emphatic 8-1 triumph of Sochi 2014 gold medallists Canada.
Defeats Slovakia and the Neutral Paralympic Athletes put qualification in jeopardy but an 8-3 win over Germany seemed to get the team back on track.
However, a surprise 9-3 defeat to the USA left things hanging in the balance and a 5-4 loss to Korea that was decided by centimetres ultimately left Team Neilson relying on results from elsewhere.
Those results went against Great Britain, again by the tiniest of margins and a 9-3 defeat to eventual gold medallists China ended their competition.
Early promise: Neilson leads curlers to victory over reigning champions Canada