RAF Halton Corporal Assists in Training of Paralympic Skier

26 February 2016

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Corporal Gary Smith, based at the RAF Halton C4I Flight has been training as a guide for Visually Impaired Paralympic Gold Medallist Kelly Gallagher in Winter Park, Colorado for the past two weeks.

This is in preparation for the International Paralympic Alpine World Cup Skiing Finals in Aspen, Colorado which begins on the 24th February. The pair will compete in five events including Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super G, Downhill and Super-Combined.

His role is to guide Kelly safely but competitively down the racecourse, skiing in front using voice commands via Bluetooth communications.

Building trust and having effective communication is critical to the relationship between the guide and athlete as when they race in Downhill and Super G they may reach speeds up to 100km per hour.

Having only been training together for two weeks in build up for these World Cup Finals the pair are hoping to be competitive while at the same time managing expectations. Their primary aim is to continue to build on everything learnt during training and use the competition as valuable race experience and hopefully towards the Paralympic in South Korea in 2018.

Editor: WO John Harris

© MOD Crown Copyright 2016

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