Jade Etherington gets perfect birthday present with record breaking silver medal

Jade Etherington, right, in action with guide Caroline Powell, left. Photo:  Mark Scorgie ENGEMN00120140130142636
Jade Etherington, right, in action with guide Caroline Powell, left. Photo: Mark Scorgie ENGEMN00120140130142636
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Partially-sighted skier Jade Etherington held her nerve to deliver Great Britain’s first ever medal on the Paralympic ski slopes this morning (Saturday).

Etherington, who turns 23 tomorrow, won silver with her guide Caroline Powell in the Downhill at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics.

Bourne skier Etherington said: “I can’t believe it. I knew that in the course we were going and we were really close. Over the jump I got a lot of air and I managed to hold it and carry on to the last pitch.

“I was just really excited today to race. I can’t believe what has just happened. Despite my crash at the end it is all good.

“I am still shaking now. I am really happy for us and I am really proud of Caroline.”

The former Deepings School pupil and Powell completed the course in a time of 1:31.55, to finish 2.74 seconds behind Slovakia’s Henrieta Farkasova and guide Nataly Subrtova who claimed gold with the first run of the day.

The success of Etherington and Powell’s run came from clean jumps and good close skiing between the pair allowing them to communicate better as they raced down the face of the mountain.

Powell and Etherington communicate over a radio while racing, with Powell skiing in front giving instructions.

Etherington said: “On the course I was like we are nearly there go, go ,go. We knew it was a good run and yeah we got a medal.

“I knew I was going to be scared, with the speeds you are always going to have that fear factor but that is what makes it exciting to race. And today we were both just really excited, we weren’t nervous like the other day. So I think that just helped our performance and we just really enjoyed it and we know that we are not going to do another Downhill again.”

Etherington is the first British woman to win an individual medal at the Winter Paralympics since 1984, and the first person to win a medal in an individual event since 1994, however both Etherington and Powell will stand on the podium and receive medals.

She adeded: “I want to say hi to my mum and dad, my sisters and my nan and my granddad. I want to say thank you to everyone that is listening and thanks for all the support and I hope you enjoyed it and it wasn’t too stressful to watch.”

An ecstatic Etherington said: “I can’t believe its silver. It’s crazy - its Downhill. It is not even my favourite event.”

The pair’s best event is considered to be the Slalom and Giant Slalom, where they have won World Cup golds this season.

They compete in the Slalom on Friday and Giant Slalom on Sunday and will hope to go one better than the silver they earned today.