Historic silver for Etherington and Powell
on 14-03-2014 13:08
Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell made history today (Friday March 13) as they clinched silver in the women's Visually Impaired Super Combined with a spectacular performance in the Super-G discipline, making them the most decorated British female winter Paralympians of all time.
The Super-Combined silver is their fourth medal of the Games and follows the silvers won in the Downhill and the Slalom, in addition to bronze in the Super-G. The pair have surpassed the three medals won by Denise Smith and Ann Peskey at the 1984 Games in Innsbruck, claiming the title of the most decorated female winter Paralympians in British history.
Their success today also represents the most medals won by any winter Paralympian from a single Games, but only equals the record for most decorated winter Paralympian as Richard Burt and Matthew Stockford who each won four medals between the 1994 Games in Lillehammer and the 1992 Games in Tignes-Albertville.
As the second athletes to leave the start gates, the pair didn't hide the fact that they were aiming to steal the gold medal from Russian rival Alexandra Frantceva, who laid down the gauntlet in Tuesday's Slalom by establishing a 3.12 second lead over the rest of the field.
Etherington and Powell didn't disappoint, confidently speeding down the slopes to record a fast time of 1:26.58. An anxious wait followed as Frantceva competed her run, but despite recording a time 2.49 seconds slower than that of the British pair she managed to cling on to her lead to take gold. Danelle Umstead of USA won bronze.
" I didn't think I'd win one medal here let alone four. To make history twice in one week is amazing." Jade Etherington
Etherington said: "We haven't skied like that ever before, it was one of our best runs. We're annoyed not to win gold but it was so close. We really fought for that gold, hopefully people could see that from our time. A lot of people didn't finish the course we we're happy to have fought all the way and be consistent.
"It's crazy! Especially as this is my first ever Paralympics. I didn't think I'd win one medal here let alone four. To make history twice in one week is amazing."
Powell added: "I think Jade's done really well. We knew we were going really fast today. At the top I said to Jade 'this is our last speed event here at Sochi so let's really go for it'. We didn't just want to finish today or just get silver, we wanted to risk it all and go for the gold. We skied the best race we've ever done, managed to close the gap on Frantceva but we were only half a second off.
"To win four medals is an incredible feeling. We're so happy for all the support we've had."
Mick Brennan successfully completed the course to notch up another top ten performance for him, finishing 8th. He had a difficult race: he was stopped part way through his first run so that a crash in the finish area could be cleared and had to return to the start gate for a second attempt.
"I was nervous going into it but I think that helped me to race." Mick Brennan
He said: “It was a difficult race. I got to the start earlier than planned so then I was waiting longer than I wanted to. I was nervous going into it but I think that helped me to race, I stuck to doing what I was told to do. But the race went well and felt clean.
On the restart, Brennan added: “I saw the yellow flag waving. But I'd made a few mistakes in that top bit so the second run gave me the chance to do them again.”
Josh Dueck from Canada won the gold, with Heath Calhoun from the USA and Roman Rabl from Austria completing the podium.
"I really went for it today, that's the only way to race." Anna Turney
Meanwhile, there was disappointment for Anna Turney in the Sitting category as she crashed out of the challenging course as she took on her second run of the Super Combined.
Turney said: "I really went for it today, that's the only way to race. I'm happy that I raced it hard and now I'm looking forward to the Giant Slalom."
Anna Schaffelhuber and Anna-Lena Forster of Germany won gold and silver.
With no tie-breaker scenario in the Wheelchair Curling, today was a rest day for the athletes based down in the Coastal Cluster in Sochi as they prepare for their semi-final showdown against Russia at 09:30 tomorrow local time.
Tomorrow Mick Brennan, James Whitley and Ben Sneesby will all compete in the Giant Slalom, their final event of the Games.