Kelly Gallagher is a living proof that no matter what may stand in your way, success is achievable. Despite despite being visually impaired – more specifically suffering from Oculocutaneous Albinism, Kelly became the first British Paralympian to win a Gold medal for her country, a great victory for the downhill skier.
The amount of bravery and trust required for Kelly to compete is astounding, as she hurtles down the slopes at nearly 90 miles an hour she must rely on her skill, technique and sighted guide to lead her there safely.
When competing in the 2009 New Zealand Winter Olympics, alongside her guide Claire Robb, Kelly won her first international gold in the giant slalom. After this performance, she was chosen for the 2010 Winter Paralympics, supported by the Sports Institute for Northern Ireland.
As one of seven skiers for Great Britain, Kelly became the first athlete from Northern Ireland to compete in the Winter Olympics. During this event, Kelly made the pinnacle decision to team up with Charlotte Evans MBE as her sight guide, who became a qualified coach after snapping a crucial ligament in 2009. Alongside Charlotte, the pair won Great Britain’s first medal in the IPC World Championships, in 2011.
Thanks to their performance at the 2014 Winter Paralympics, winning Britain’s first gold medal, Kelly was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire for her commitment to athletes with a visual impairment.
Despite the falls and injuries Kelly has faced, she continues to dominate her field, highlighting the determination needed to be a successful Paralympian. Alongside Charlotte, the athletes are a force to be reckoned with – showing no signs of slowing down or giving up their titles.