The ParalympicsGB team are returning from Russia today with six medals - one gold, three silver and two bronze - making Sochi 2014 the most successful winter Paralympics in the history of British sport.
Either individually or as part of a team, all the medals went to athletes who have been supported by SportsAid.
The gold medal went to Kelly Gallagher (see photo) who on March 10 became the first ever British winter Paralympic champion by winning the women's visually-impaired super-G with guide Charlotte Evans.
"I'm delighted," Kelly said afterwards. "It is so good to have such a great reward for all my and Charlotte's hard work. I couldn't have done it without Charlotte's constant determination and talent. She's a star!"
But the final honours went to teammate Jade Etherington who carried the flag for Great Britain at last night's closing ceremony after winning medals in four of the five events in which she competed: bronze in the women's super-G, silver in the women's downhill, silver in the women's slalom and silver in the women's super-combined.
She sadly had to withdraw from her final event, the women's giant slalom, due to illness but was fortunately well enough to attend the celebrations last night in the Fisht stadium.
"I feel tremendously privileged to be selected to carry our flag in front of an international crowd and specifically the GB audience back home," Jade said of the honour.
Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe added, "Amidst some fantastic and record breaking performances over the last week, on both snow and ice, this wasn't an easy decision to make. Jade, supported by Caroline, has delivered consistent medal winning performances in each of the races she has competed in making her Britain’s most celebrated winter Paralympian. She is thoroughly deserving of the honour to be the flagbearer at the closing ceremony and I am delighted for her."There were eight athletes competing at the Games who have received support from SportsAid, winning individually or as part of a team all six of ParalympicsGB's medals. Here is the full list of their results in Sochi:
- Aileen Neilson wheelchair curling - bronze (TASS Awards 2006-08)
- Anna Turney sit-skiing LW12-1 - women's super-G: 4th, women's slalom: 5th, woman's giant slalom: 8th (TASS Awards 2008-14)
- Ben Sneesby sit-skiing LW12-1 - men's slalom: 12th (SportsAid Award 2008, Lloyds Bank Local Heroes; TASS Awards 2009-12)
- Jade Etherington visually-impaired skiing B2, guide: Caroline Powell - women's downhill: silver, women's super-G: bronze, women's slalom: silver, women's super-combined: silver (TASS Awards 2008-13)
- James Whitley skiing LW5/7-3 - men's slalom: 15th, men's giant slalom: 14th (SportsAid Awards 2009-11 and 2013, Doris Dibden)
- Kelly Gallagher visually-impaired skiing B3, guide: Charlotte Evans - women's downhill: 6th, women's super-G: gold (SportsAid Award 2010, Asda)
- Mick Brennan sit-skiing LW12-2 - men's super-G: 10th, men's super-combined: 8th, men's giant slalom: 14th (SportsAid Awards 2009-10 and 2012)
- Millie Knight visually-impaired skiing B2, guide: Rachael Ferrier - women's slalom: 5th, women's giant slalom: 5th (SportsAid Award 2013)
Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans celebrate gold in the women's visually-impaired super-G. Supplied by British Disabled Ski Team.
Interviews and information on SportsAid
Background on SportsAid
- SportsAid is a national charity (#1111612), established in 1976, which helps young British
sportsmen and women who aspire to be our next Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth or world champions.
- SportsAid's patron is Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge.
- At London 2012 almost two-thirds of the British team were former recipients of SportsAid’s support, winning 20 of Team GB’s 29 gold medals and 27 of ParalympicsGB’s 34 gold medals.
- The athletes supported by SportsAid are typically aged 12 to 18 and are among Britain’s brightest hopes for the future.
- The SportsAid Awards they receive are funded by the charity’s donors and supporters. They recognise the athletes’ achievements and help them meet the high costs of training and competing, which they otherwise have to pay for themselves.
- SportsAid ensures the right people get the right help at the right time by working with the governing bodies of around 70 sporting disciplines to identify those with the greatest potential.
- As well as providing SportsAid Awards to help young athletes meet the cost of sport, SportsAid also manages the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), which provides specialist services to athletes in higher or further education.