As the Paralympic Winter Games approach, it is worth noting that Australia will only compete in Alpine skiing at these games as no cross country skiers were selected. Tori Penedergast – who was on the show last week – will become the first female sit skier to compete at a Paralympics.
Snowboarding will be making its Paralympic debut and Australia has three competitors taking part, Trent Milton, Joany Badenhorst and Ben Tudhope. They will no doubt be spurred onto to succeed in memory of Perth Paralympic snowboarder Matthew Robinson who passed away due to a cardiac arrest while being transported in an air ambulance to Australia from Spain with neck and spinal injuries following a race accident in preparation for the Games. .
Robinson had been hospitalised for eight days in Barcelona after being injured on February 12 while competing at the IPC World Cup finals in La Molina, Spain.
One name to remember not only to watch out for but also for quiz night enthusiasts is Jess Gallagher. Gallagher is legally blind, but has represented Australia at the Winter and Summer Paralympics. In skiing, she won a bronze medal at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics. In athletics, she represented Australia at the 2012 London Paralympics but did not medal. She has however won a silver and a bronze medal at the 2011 Christchurch IPC Athletics World Championships in long jump and javelin, respectively. Gallagher was the first Australian woman to win a medal at the Winter Paralympics, and Australia’s second female Winter Paralympian.
Australia is captained by Cameron Rahles-Rahbula who will be attending his fourth games and who was the best performing athlete at the Vancouver Games for Australia. He won two bronze medals in the slalom and the Super G. the 30-year old has also announced that he will retire after these games, so it is hoped he can go out in style with another medal.
Australia is aiming to improve on Vancouver 2010 where it won four medals, one silver and three bronze. Here is wishing all our athletes the best of luck and that they achieve this goal.