Gallagher lands back-to-back bronze medals

VIS athlete Jessica Gallagher ensured Australia’s Paralympic team had a spring in its step departing Sochi, claiming a bronze medal on the final day of the Paralympic Games.

Gallagher and her guide Christian Geiger took the bronze in the women’s vision-impaired giant slalom to secure her country’s second medal, and complement Toby Kane’s bronze in the standing super-combined.

And with that, the dual winter and summer Paralympian showed she still has the special ‘something’ that helped her create history four years earlier with bronze in Vancouver.

Jess shared her Sochi experience with us below: 

“Sochi. Hot. Cool. Yours.” No one really understood the Games’ motto! With Sochi’s coastal location, the weather certainly was ‘hot’ and it felt more like my time at the summer Paralympics in London than being at a winter Games!

Riding the chairlift, there was the sound of birds happily chirping but with no visible snow anywhere until you reached the race hill; certainly a unique experience! 

The warm temperatures unfortunately created dangerous conditions and athletes were unable to really showcase their abilities. One slight mistake and not only were you out of medal contention but usually left tumbling down the hill and with an injury. To be honest, it wasn’t fun to watch or ski on and a real shame because aside from the snow, Russia held an amazing Paralympics.

Personally I was ecstatic to win another Paralympic medal, this time in a new event after my guide Christian and I faltered under tough circumstances in our main event (slalom). The vast array of uncontrollable variables meant those who stood on the podium were truly grateful for their accomplishment; many incredible athletes left empty handed. 

Sochi was without a doubt the most challenging Paralympic Games I’ve been involved with. We had been warned by the Olympic team to expect the worst, and luckily for us they had fixed the majority of the issues including the dining hall food, but you never could be certain when getting into a lift that you could end up in there for a while! The opening and closing ceremonies were spectacular, the people and volunteers incredible, and in the case of alpine skiing we attracted more spectators at times than the Olympics. However my favourite part by far was getting to ski amongst some of the most spectacular mountains I have ever seen. They truly took my breath away.

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