ParalympicsGB’s first ever Winter Games gold medallist, Kelly Gallagher MBE, has announced her retirement, bringing to a close a glittering 12-year career at the highest levels of the sport.

The trailblazing athlete has been a fixture in international Alpine Skiing for more than a decade, representing Britain at three Paralympic Winter Games and became the nation’s first ever Winter Paralympic Gold medallist at Sochi 2014 along with Guide Charlotte Evans.

Awarded an MBE in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to sport for people with a visual impairment, Gallagher retires having secured four silver and five bronze medals in World Championships, spanning her first ever World Championship medals at Sestriere in 2011 to her final podium places at the 2019 Sella Nevea/Kranjska Gore World Championships.

Kelly competes in the Women's Super-G at Sochi

“Making the decision to call an end to my competitive career before Beijing 2022 has come as an unexpected but delightful detour from my planned retirement season. I hope to be welcoming our 2nd baby into the world in the same month as the Paralympic Winter Games and so this is the right time to announce my retirement,” said Gallagher.

“It’s been the adventure of a lifetime to ski race at the highest level for the past 11 years, during which I’ve achieved more than I could have hoped for or imagined, not least the honour of becoming Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic Gold medallist in 2014. I’m immensely proud of everything I’ve achieved in my career, from my first ever season on the circuit in 200910 to my final medals in 2019.

“Through that time, I’ve enjoyed invaluable support from Sport Northern Ireland, UK Sport and GB Snowsport, all of whom have played been so important in helping me to achieve everything I’ve worked so hard for. Thank you to the many coaches, sport psychologists, physiotherapists, ski technicians, strength and conditioning coaches, and support staff who have worked with me over the years and tears.

“I’ve also had the fortune to work with some phenomenal guides in Charlotte Evans, Claire Robb and Gary Smith and more; I’ll be eternally grateful for their expertise and the personal sacrifice of their time and effort in order for gme to reach my potential on the slopes.

“Finally, I must thank my family and friends for their unstinting love, care and understanding over the past decade. For always believing in me and caring for all the many injuries and doubts I had over the years.

“I will miss enormously the camaraderie and the intensity that comes with being a part of the elite sport world, and I wish all of my teammates, the coaches, and the whole Para Snowsport movement the very best of luck in the season to come. Although I won’t be out there with them this year, I’ll be cheering them on from back home.”

Jump for Joy: Kelly and her guide celebrate winning gold at Sochi 2014

Penny Briscoe, ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission at Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018, said: “Kelly’s superb achievement in winning ParalympicsGB’s first ever Winter Games gold medal was a critical milestone in the evolution of the British team as a credible and competitive nation on both snow and ice.

“What she and her guide, Charlotte Evans, accomplished at Sochi 2014 remains one of the proudest moments of my time as Chef de Mission of ParalympicsGB and, without doubt, it proved to be the launch pad for much of the success we subsequently saw in PyeongChang 2018.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kelly for being an incredible athlete and advocate for Paralympic sport and wish her and her growing family the best of luck in whatever she chooses to do following her retirement from competition.”

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