Kelly Gallagher MBE has announced her retirement after an incredible 12-year career and three Paralympic Winter Games.
The alpine skier became Team GB's first ever Winter Paralympic Gold medallist at Sochi 2014, and has secured four silver and five bronze medal across world championships from 2011 to 2019. She was made an MBE in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to sport for people with a visual impairment.
Gallagher had considered competing at one final Winter Paralympic Games at Beijing 2022, but has closed that book ahead of the tournament with a second child on the way.
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Announcing her retirement, Gallagher said: “Making the decision to call an end to my competitive career before Beijing 2022 has come as an unexpected but delightful detour from my planned retirement season. I hope to be welcoming our 2nd baby into the world in the same month as the Paralympic Winter Games and so this is the right time to announce my retirement.
It’s been the adventure of a lifetime to ski race at the highest level for the past 11 years, during which I’ve achieved more than I could have hoped for or imagined, not least the honour of becoming Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic Gold medallist in 2014. I’m immensely proud of everything I’ve achieved in my career, from my first ever season on the circuit in 2009/10 to my final medals in 2019.
“Through that time, I’ve enjoyed invaluable support from Sport Northern Ireland, UK Sport and GB Snowsport, all of whom have played been so important in helping me to achieve everything I’ve worked so hard for. Thank you to the many coaches, sport psychologists, physiotherapists, ski technicians, strength and conditioning coaches, and support staff who have worked with me over the years and tears.
Jayne Kavanagh, GB Snowsport's head of the Paralympic programme, was quick to praise Gallagher's success and impact on the sport.
“Everyone in the Alpine system will greatly miss Kelly in her retirement," said Kavanagh. "For over a decade she has been a fixture in the country’s World Class programme, and nobody will ever forget the impact she’s made on the sport. I’m certain that her influence will continue to be felt for many years to come.”
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