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Gallagher and Evans revel in win

Published 11/03/2014 | 07:12

Kelly Gallagher, back, and guide Charlotte Evans, front, won Great Britain's first ever gold medal at the Winter Paralympics
Kelly Gallagher, back, and guide Charlotte Evans, front, won Great Britain's first ever gold medal at the Winter Paralympics

Great Britain's history makers Kelly Gallagher and Charlotte Evans were relishing the chance to keep their sport in the spotlight after winning the country's first ever Winter Paralympic crown.

Visually-impaired skier Gallagher and guide Evans claimed victory in the super-G in Sochi on Monday, bouncing back in emphatic fashion from the disappointment of finishing last in the downhill two days earlier, a result which knocked Gallagher's self-belief for six and left Evans a "blubbering wreck".

This time they were revelling in messages of congratulation from the likes of David Cameron and Victoria Beckham, which followed the cheers from the packed stands at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.

"Nobody comes to see our races, so it's pretty exciting that our sport has that much of a profile," said Northern Irish skier Gallagher.

"We are getting a lot of coverage at home.

"When we won two World Championship medals when we first started ski racing together you couldn't tell a sponsor about it."

Evans added: "Our sport is being looked upon as a proper sport and there are so many people watching this and it is exciting.

"We're used to having six people watching us, that's if we're lucky. This is a big event and the pressure's huge."

The news got even better for the British team as Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell won bronze in the same race, their second medal of the Games, to take Britain's tally to three, already exceeding UK Sport's target.

Gallagher and Evans were the first of the six pairs down and had an anxious wait to see if their time would be good enough. Slovakia's Henrieta Farkasova, the downhill gold medallist, was expected to go quicker, but crashed, and when Australian Melissa Perrine also failed to finish, British gold was secure.

And the celebrity response was a new experience for the pair.

On when she saw the Tweet from Beckham, Evans said: "I thought it was her fake account and had to check she was verified and she was.

"And then I danced around and screamed a little."

On Tuesday, though, the pair, along with Etherington and Powell, have the chance to raise the profile of the sport yet further, with both in action in the super combined, which features a super-G run followed by the slalom.

Evans said: "Super combined is a tough discipline, probably one of our most difficult. It's got a lot of elements of change."

Whatever happens now, though, history has already been made.

Press Association

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