How to become an alpine ski racer: Menna's story

The rush I get from skiing is the best feeling in the world.

  • Menna was Great Britain's most decorated athlete at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang
  • Menna was born visually impaired - she is completely blind in her right eye and has only 5% vision in her left eye
  • She learnt to ski on a family holiday by following her dad's movements as he skied in front of her
  • She was scouted by the GB team and was paired with her sighted guide Jen.
Menna and Jen with their Paralympic medals.
Menna and Jen won four Paralympic medals in 2018, including a gold in the slalom run where you ski between poles or gates.

What to expect if you want to be a Paralympic athlete

Becoming a professional athlete takes a lot of commitment and hard work. You should:

  • train – professional athletes train every day of the week and you should be working with a coach or training group a minimum of five days a week
  • know your sport – the Paralympic Games use a process called ‘Classification’ to assess athletes’ impairments (such as Menna’s impaired vision). This process makes each sport fair for all
  • compete – for many sports you will need experience of competing in national and international competitions before you enter the Paralympic Games. The Paralympic website has guidance for all winter and summer sports and what experience you should have before entering.

It’s also important to remember that professional athletes’ careers are limited with most retiring in their late 20s/early 30s. Menna is working towards a career in the media and it’s a good idea to have a think about what you would like to do when you retire from competing.

Want to know more?

The Parasport website is a great place to start if you're interested in getting involved in disability sport.

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