The chance of upgrading the silver and bronze medals won at the 2014 Winter Paralympics to gold hasn’t proved enough to stop Bourne skier Jade Etherington from confirming her retirement from the sport.
The 23-year-old former pupil at both Baston and Langtoft Primary Schools has chosen instead to pursue a career in teaching and inspiring other people through the avenue of motivational speaking.
Jade and her guide at this year’s Games in Sochi, Russia, Caroline Powell (20), have decided to give up the slopes competitively despite UK Sport committing almost £2.75 million to the British Disabled Ski Team over the next for years.
Speaking to the Free Press, Jade said: “Myself and Caroline made a decision together that we had achieved so much in Sochi and so we did have that potential together.
“But on the other hand, neither of us ever expected to carry on as I have my teaching to do and Caroline has her ski instructing career in Switzerland.
“It was always the plan to go out on a high and, even though our competitive careers have been short and sweet, we’d built up such a strong relationmship that we said to each other that we wouldn’t go on with anyone else.
“It’s a shame that the funding from UK Sport is a little too late for us and that we didn’t have that sort of help, except for the last six months of our careers.
“But we like to think of it as a nice legacy that we’ve left for the rest of the British Disabled Ski Team.”
Jade, who has Axenphelds Syndrome and glaucoma which have left the former Deepings School student with no more than five per cent vision in each eye, won three silver medals and a bronze in Sochi with Caroline’s help as her guide.
“I was the leader in deciding what races we’d do, but Caroline was in charge on the ski slopes,” Jade said.
“We tried to give our best in Sochi and now we both just want to be happy in our lives.”
Jade was born in Essex in March 1991 but moved to Bourne with her parents and three younger sisters as a seven-year-old.
Soon afterwards, Jade went on a skiing holiday with her parents and in 2007, she was invited to try out for the British Disabled Ski Team.
Jade started competing in November 2011 and less than two years later, she qualified for the Winter Paralympics by winning a bronze medal in the super-giant slalom at the Paralympic Alpine Skiing World Championships in Spain.
After teaming up with her guide Caroline Powell in August 2013, Jade won silver medals in the visually impaired downhill, slalom and combined downhill, along with bronze in the super-giant slalom, at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.