Visually impaired Paralympic gold medalist reveals what she sees when she skis

Adam Bennett
The Telegraph
Menna Fitzpatrick (right) and her guide Jennifer Kehoe (left) celebrate Gold in the Women's Slalom - PA
Menna Fitzpatrick (right) and her guide Jennifer Kehoe (left) celebrate Gold in the Women's Slalom - PA

Hurtling down a ski slope at 60mph is not for the faint-hearted even when you can see where you're going, but for visually impaired Menna Fitzpatrick, who has just three per cent vision, it's all in a day's work.

Now the Paralympic athlete, who won Britain's first gold of the Games in the Paralympic slalom, has shared with the world her own view of the slopes.

She has now joined up with The Royal National Institute for the Blind who have developed a filter give a point-of-view glimpse into Fitzpatrick's life of high-speed racing. 

Fitzpatrick triumphed on the final day of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang with her guide and British Army officer Jennifer Kehoe.

<span>Fitzpatrick has shared her view of the slopes&nbsp;</span> <span>Credit: Instagram&nbsp; </span>
Fitzpatrick has shared her view of the slopes  Credit: Instagram 

She received two silvers and a bronze earlier in the competition and won her gold by beating Slovakia's Henrieta Farkasova and Natalia Subrtova by 0.66 seconds.

 Farkasova led by 0.66 seconds after the first run, but Fitzpatrick's second attempt saw her eclipse the leader by 1.32 seconds for a total time of one minute 51.80 seconds.

Fitzpatrick also finished her games in style after she was selected as Team GB's flag bearer for the closing ceremony. 

Brit Millie Knight and her guide Brett Wild also made the podium with their bronze taking the British tally in Pyeongchang to seven medals - their target for the event - on day nine.

Guide Kehoe, who has previously also guided Knight, wears bright clothing to help her guide navigate the slopes and also uses a bluetooth headset so the pair can keep in touch. 

<span>Menna won the only gold medal for Team GB at the Winter Paralympics</span> <span>Credit: Instagram&nbsp; </span>
Menna won the only gold medal for Team GB at the Winter Paralympics Credit: Instagram 

As a serving Army Officer in the Royal Engineers Kehoe was released from military duties to train as a full-time athlete and guide and began working with Fitzpatrick in 2015. 

The pair had a difficult start to the competition when the teenager crashed out in their opening race, but bounced back spectacularly to win gold. 

Fitzpatrick, whose gold-winning day began badly when a ski boot fell on her head, said: "This morning, I didn't have the greatest start, you wouldn't have thought it was our day.

"I was exhausted after this whole period of racing. The nerves and the emotion were just overwhelming so that didn't make for a great start.

<span>The athlete follows her guide, who wears orange, down the slopes</span>
The athlete follows her guide, who wears orange, down the slopes

"We just sang songs and danced and it made me feel a lot better and it seemed to work. We may have been dancing in the start gate.

"We just needed something to make us giggle, and that calmed me down."

Kehoe added: "Words don't even cover what we're feeling right now, it hasn't properly sunk in. We left everything out there on that hill, we fought right to the very end."

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