LONDON 2012 aimed to inspire a generation – and it certainly succeeded when it comes to Bourne girl Jade Etherington.
The 21-year-old, who attended The Deepings School before going to Bishop Grosseteste University College, has set herself the target of becoming the first Briton to win an alpine ski racing Paralympics medal.
Jade has less than four per cent vision in each eye and describes what she can see as “very blurry with little focus.”
But that hasn’t stopped her from joining Team GB’s elite skiing squad – and after witnessing the nation’s great success at the summer Olympics and Paralympics, she is gunning for glory at the 2014 winter games in Sochi (Russia).
Jade said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. I want to do everything possible to be the first alpine ski racer to medal for GB at a Paralympic Games.”
Jade’s sight started to deteriorate when she was 17. But while her sight worsened, her ability to ski went from strength to strength.
That culminated in a remarkable 20-medal haul (eight gold) at a recent European Cup level event, which also resulted in World Cup qualification.
On the slopes she has a guide (Fiona Gingell helped steer Jade to international medal success) who races in front of her. Using radio headsets in their helmets, the guide then tells her when to turn around the gates.
In order to get down the course successfully and safely there is an enormous amount of trust between guide and athlete. It’s fast and furious stuff, with Jade often reaching speeds of 70mph.
Naturally, the vast majority of training takes place in Europe – meaning the sport is also financially demanding.
With Jade’s condition, costs are double that of usual racers and for that reason, she’s launching an appeal to raise funds in order to meet her lofty goals.
Her target is £20,000, the minimum needed to compete and train at World Cup level for both herself and her guide.
She is also looking for a new guide to join her, but all plans of Paralympics glory are on ice until her target is reached.
To support Jade’s bid for a Paralympics medal, email her at email@example.com or call 07714 170416. Alternatively, search Jade Etherington on Facebook or follow her @raceyjadeski on Twitter.
You can also visit www.justgiving.com/jadeetherington if you’d like to donate.