Perfect end for Etherington

Jade Etherington at the closing ceremony ANL-140317-140638001
Jade Etherington at the closing ceremony ANL-140317-140638001
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Bourne skier Jade Etherington climbed out of a wheelchair to carry the flag at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The record-breaking skier admitted carrying the British flag at the closing ceremony made for a perfect ending to an amazing competition for the 23 year-old.

The visually-impaired former Deepings School pupil was the standout performer of the British team.

She won an unprecedented four medals from as many events before illness prevented her from chasing a fantastic fifth.

She suffered an ovarian cyst rupture – something she had been dealing with in the build-up to the Games – and was too unwell to compete in the giant slalom on the final day.

Etherington spent most of Sunday in a wheelchair but insisted the honour of lifting the British flag at the closing ceremony in Sochi was one she had to do on her feet.

“I was quite shocked to be fair because I didn’t really think about being selected to carry the flag, but I was so honoured,” she said.

“I am really grateful that I was selected for my achievements at these Games because they have been so successful.

“It was great to end on a high, especially after such a low point on the final day, and it really ended the Games on a good note.”

It was a fantastic Games for Etherington who picked up three silver medals and a bronze.

Silver in the downhill on the opening day was followed by super-G bronze and further silvers in the super combined and slalom at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.

But hopes of adding a fifth were dented by illness.

She explained: “I had some pain the day before my race and I went to the hospital for some scans and I found out that one of the cysts had ruptured.

“I had been dealing with it for two months before the Games and it hadn’t troubled me during the week but just my luck it happened the night before a race.

“I just want to focus on getting home and getting better. I felt better in the evening for the ceremony but I was taking pain killers for the pain.

“I was in a wheelchair for most of the day but I just knew I needed to stand to lift the flag.”

Etherington, who first tried skiing on a family holiday at the age of eight, is now Great Britain’s most decorated Winter Paralympian, despite only linking up with guide Caroline Powell in April 2013.