10/03/2014

 Bishop Grosseteste graduate Jade Etherington is now a quadruple Olympic medal winner following a whirlwind couple of days in Sochi. She is now officially Britain’s most successful winter paralympian.

Jade became Britain’s first ever winter Olympics medallist with a silver medal in the Alpine Skiing Women’s Downhill – Visually Impaired category. She then added a bronze medal to her tally in the Super-G event, finishing just over a second behind Gold medallist and Team GB compatriot Kelly Gallagher. Another two silvers followed in the Slalom and Super Combined Super-G categories.She has two more chances to add to her medal haul over the next few days, competing in the Super Combined and Giant Slalom events.

Jade, who graduated from BGU two years ago with a degree in Education Studies and Geography, was born with glaucoma and Axenfeld Syndrome – a rare eye disorder – Jade has less than 5% vision in each eye. She is Britain’s number one visually impaired alpine speed event ski racer, winning a bronze medal in the 2013 World Championships and reaching the medal podium 28 times in 32 races.

“Jade is not only an inspirational athlete but an inspiration to everyone she meets,” said Graham Meeson, Head of Education and Learning at Bishop Grosseteste University. “Her attitude and the way she has handled steadily losing her eyesight is a testament to her character and she has demonstrated that there really is no barrier that can prevent you achieving your goals and competing at the highest level.”

Skiers with blindness or a visual impairment are guided through the race course by a sighted guide using signals to indicate the course to follow. This involves a high level of trust between the athlete and the guide, and they are both awarded medals if they reach the podium. Jade competes with ex-Team GB athlete Caroline Powell, who skis closely in front of Jade at speeds of up to 65mph and uses pre-determined commands via helmet radios to help Jade to negotiate the course as quickly as possible.

Jade and her guide Caroline are both on Twitter – you can follow them now at @raceyjadeski and @CarolineSkier

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