As another Paralympic Games comes to a close, I have a little time to now reflect on being a part of it.The Winter Games are experiencing a really exciting time of growth, especially for us here in Great Britain.Unlike with the Summer Paralympics, there are a lot fewer sports; six rather than the twenty-two sports there were in Rio 2016. Wow, how was Rio two years ago already?
Four years in Sochi there were 5 sports, snowboarding was making its debut at a Paralympic level; a demonstration sport with two events (Men’s / Women’s visually impaired standing snowboard cross). This year there were 6 sports with Snowboarding now as a standalone event as opposed to being an alpine event. It’s not been 100% confirmed but looking ahead to Beijing 2022, it’s likely that Bobsleigh will join the Paralympic event schedule too!
The Winter Games are constantly growing, athlete participation increases year on year as does ticket sales, countries competing and support.On top of this, from a British perspective we competed in double the number of sports we did in Sochi 2014. Owen Pick, James Barnes Miller and Ben Moore all debuted at the Games in the snowboarding. We also had Scott Meenagh competing in every biathlon and cross country event; Something we haven’t seen at a games in 20 years.
Team GB didn’t fail to fulfil their ambitions either. ParalympicsGB set an optimistic target of seven medals and by the close of the Games, the team of seventeen had met this – even if they left it almost till the very last event!
We also decorated our most successful Winter Paralympian, Menna Fitzpatrick who took home 1 bronze, two silver and a gold.
Hopefully, with all this success we will see an increase in funding from the UK’s Sport Council and then come China in four years’ time, we will be celebrating even more British success and even more great sport.
Exciting times ahead indeed!