Kelly Gallagher MBE is a Northern Irish skier an Olympic speaker who won Great Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic gold medal during Sochi 2014.
The first athlete from Northern Ireland to compete in the Winter Paralympics, she joined the British Disabled Ski Team in 2008 and went on to clinch a gold medal at her first ever international race at the 2009 Winter Games in New Zealand.
Kelly then took part in her first Paralympics in 2010 when, along with sighted guide Claire Robb, she took part in two skiing events and was part of a six strong British ski team. Despite missing out on a medal by just 3.36 seconds, the Olympic speaker was the highest scoring skier in the British team.
Following her Paralympic debut she sought a new guide and eventually hooked up with former athlete turned coach Charlotte Evans, who had retired following an injury. Together the two went on to compete in the 2011 IPC World Championships where Kelly became the first ever British athlete to win World Championship medals, taking silver in the slalom and bronze in the giant slalom.
Though they had only been working together for five weeks, Kelly and her 19-year-old guide quickly became known as a force to be reckoned with and, shortly after her record-breaking win at the World Championships, they went on to win a gold medal at the European Cup Finals.
Kelly’s most impressive performance to date remains her appearance at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, where she finished first in the visually impaired Super-G competition to clinch Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic medal. Later that year the Olympic speaker was awarded an MBE for her contributions to disability sports.
In her capacity as a sports speaker, Kelly frequently discusses the barriers faced by those with disabilities attempting to break into sport. Helping to raise the profile of funding bodies such as Disability Sport, she has become an icon for disabled athletes and is a particularly popular Olympic speaker in her home country.
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