The secret of Paralympic medal success finally revealed

Laughing at butterflies drinking tea while doing yoga - that is the secret to Paralympic success, according to Menna Fitzpatrick after she claimed women’s VI super-combined silver at PyeongChang 2018 with guide Jennifer Kehoe.

The duo had already won super-G bronze on Sunday and produced two brilliant runs to add a silver medal to their collection at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre on Tuesday.

Fitzpatrick: Growing in confidence with every run

And, for those wondering what goes through the heads of elite athletes when the nerves kick in and the eyes of the world are on you, Fitzpatrick has a very simple mantra.

“In the start gate just before we go out, when the nerves start increasing, I think about butterflies that are drinking tea while doing yoga,” said Fitzpatrick after she clocked a combined time of 2:29.00.

“It came from three different techniques of calming you down,” added Kehoe.

“One is having butterflies fly around in your stomach, the next is the tea cup and thinking calm under pressure and the third is yogic breathing.”

Thumbs up

The pair produced a super-G time of 1:31.49 in the day’s opening session to give them second place, while Millie Knight and Brett Wild occupied third and Kelly Gallagher and Gary Smith sat seventh – the position they would hold at the end of competition.

The slalom wasn’t as kind to Knight and Wild as they clocked 58.10 while Australia’s Melissa Perrine produced a breath-taking run of 55.32 which proved enough for her to leapfrog the pair and leave them in an agonising fourth.

The prospect of bad weather at the weekend means the VI skiers will have the opportunity to add to their already impressive medal haul with the Giant Slalom event moved to Wednesday.

The British trio all compete, with Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe, and Millie Knight and Brett Wild looking to add to the two medals each pair has won so far during some assured displays at the JeongSeon Alpine Centre, while James Whitley will race in the men’s standing giant slalom.

Whitley was pleased with his times as he finished 11th in the men’s standing super-combined and is looking forward to racing again tomorrow.

Day four results: Women’s super-combined, visually impaired – Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe – silver (2:29), Millie Knight and Brett Wild – 4th (2:31.73) Kelly Gallagher and Gary Smith – 7th (2:38.08)

Men’s super-combined, standing – James Whitley – 11th (2:20.28)

Day five 0930 (00:30 UK time) Alpine Skiing - Women’s visually impaired Giant Slalom - Millie Knight and Brett Wild, Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe, Kelly Gallagher and Gary Smith.

Followed by Men’s standing Giant Slalom James Whitley

Meenagh learning with every race

Great Britain have only scratched the surface of their potential in Para Nordic skiing, according Scott Meenagh.

Saturday saw Meenagh become the first Para Nordic skier to represent Britain at the Paralympics for 20 years and a 13th-place finish in Tuesday’s 12.5km biathlon marked the half-way point of his gruelling competition schedule.

Meenagh said: “I’ve only been doing this for a couple of years but we’re only just scratching the surface, we’ve got a big plan for the future and we’re not going anywhere – the aim is Beijing.”

The 28-year-old returns to action on Wednesday as part of a schedule that would have most running for the hills with six gruelling races in one of the toughest sports around.

Day four results: Scott Meenagh, Men’s Biathlon 12.5km sitting: (54.52.09)

Day five 10:05 (01:05 UK time) Men’s 1.1Km sprint, sitting.

True grit from Scott Meenagh

Disappointment for Wheelchair Curlers

After two wins the previous day the ParalympicsGB curlers were looking to cement their place near the top of the league against Slovakia.

It wasn’t to be though as Slovakia scored well to move in to a 5-2 lead which Aileen Neilson’s team narrowly failed to claw back with the match ending 6-5.

And on a disappointing day they couldn’t rally against (NPA) Neutral Paralympic Athletes in their evening match and were beaten 2-8

Bob McPherson said: “It was a bad day at the office, we just weren’t executing as well as we know we can, but hopefully we’ll get back to firing the way we have done so far.”

The Wheelchair curlers have two crucial matches as they seek to finish in the top four of the round robin competition and secure a place in the semi-finals.

Day four results: Great Britain 5-6 Slovakia, Great Britain 2- 8 (NPA) Neutral Paralympic Athletes

Day five 09:35 (00:35 UK time) Great Britain v Germany - Aileen Neilson, Angie Malone, Bob McPherson, Hugh Nibloe, Gregor Ewan

14:35 (05:35 UK time) Great Britain v USA - Aileen Neilson, Angie Malone, Bob McPherson, Hugh Nibloe, Gregor Ewan Great Britain v Germany - Aileen Neilson, Angie Malone, Bob McPherson, Hugh Nibloe, Gregor Ewan

A tough day at the office

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