Bourne skier Jade Etherington saw her amazing year get even better when she received the Ski Club of Great Britain’s highest accolade.
The 23-year-old and her guide, Caroline Powell, received the Pery Medal in Wimbledon in recognition of a superb performance at the Winter Paralympics in Sochi.
The medal, first awarded in 1930, is presented if a skier, individual or organisation has made an outstanding contribution to snowsports – and with four medals in Russia there is little doubt Etherington did that.
The medal is not awarded annually but Etherington has followed the likes of Franz Klammer, Alain Baxter and Martin Bell as a recipient of the award.
Etherington returned from Sochi with three silver medals and a bronze after becoming Britain’s most successful ever Winter Paralympian.
But despite her stunning success, the partially-sighted skier has yet to decide whether to carry on in the sport and is currently enjoying a break.
She said: “It was an honour to receive the award. It was nice to go down and meet face-to-face with people who are involved in the sport.
“I am still coming to terms with my success and it’s surreal getting all the recognition I have because, to me, I am just Jade.
“Even if I don’t carry on I have over-achieved and I can look back and be proud of my performances.
“I am enjoying a break at the moment and will soon become a qualified teacher.
“The season doesn’t start until October so I don’t need to make a decision yet.”
Etherington, the first person to be awarded the freedom of Bourne, admits she has a difficult decision to make.
“It’s not just about money, it’s about whether we get the right support from the team,” she said.
“There has been a lack of support in the past and it’s an elite sport so it needs to have the right support.
“I don’t know whether I could go through another four years through to the next Paralympics, and it’s not just about me as you are asking another person to give up four years as well.
“There are a lot of sacrifices as you are away from home so much because of training and racing abroad.
“I have two lives really, one when I am at home and the other when I am away training and racing abroad.”
Also receiving the award in Wimbledon were Paralympic Super G champion Kelly Gallagher and her guide Charlotte Evans plus Slopestyle bronze medallist Jenny Jones.