On this day in 2014: Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans win historic gold

PA Sport Staff
·2-min read

Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans won Great Britain’s first ever gold medal at the Winter Paralympics on this day in 2014.

Success in the women’s visually impaired super-G in Sochi was the team’s first ever gold on snow and ended a long wait for victory on the slopes in the Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics since the events started in 1924 and 1976 respectively.

Gold for Gallagher and Evans capped a long and challenging journey to the top for the duo after their paths first crossed following Gallagher’s efforts in Vancouver four years earlier.

The Northern Irishwoman, who has oculocutaneous albinism, had been a late developer after first trying skiing as a teenager.

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One of seven skiers for Team GB at the 2010 Winter Paralympics and the first athlete from her country to compete, finishing sixth and fourth in the slalom and giant slalom respectively showed Gallagher’s promise but she split from guide Claire Robb after their time together in Canada.

Charlotte Evans answered the call for a guide following her own struggles after she snapped a cruciate ligament the previous year.

Together with Gallagher the pair won a string of silver and bronze medals at various events in the ensuing years in the build-up to Sochi.

In front of a healthy crowd at the 2014 Winter Paralympics, the Bangor athlete followed the instructions of Evans in spite of tricky conditions to clock one minute 28.72 seconds.

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After being the first on the track, the pair endured a nervous wait following their run but only Russia’s Aleksandra Frantceva could get close and she still finished off their time with one minute 28.94 seconds.

Gallagher told BBC Sport: “It was nerve-wracking but I’m delighted with the result.

“I have to thank Charlotte for getting me to the line. We just threw ourselves at it. I prayed for the strength to ski and have fun.”

Evans and Gallagher were awarded MBEs later in the year for services to the sport for people with visual impairment and the latter most recently won a silver medal at the 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships.