Raph Rinaldi: Search called off for missing GB physio

Raph Rinaldi
Raph Rinaldi worked with both the British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association and GB Snowsport

The British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association says it is "heartbroken" to hear that Raph Rinaldi is missing presumed dead in the Italian Alps.

A former physiotherapist with the British Bobsleigh team, the 50-year-old Italian also worked with the British team at this year's Winter Paralympics.

He was due to meet his brother at the Giro d'Italia on 22 May but was reported missing two days later.

A substantial search party has now ended its efforts.

"Everyone here is heartbroken to receive this desperately sad news," said Marc Heywood, the BBSA's director of operations.

"Raph went above and beyond and made a significant impression on everyone he worked with and his disappearance has come as a major shock for both current and former athletes and staff."

Rinaldi joined British Bobsleigh as a physio in 2014 before leading the team's sports medicine department from 2015-2018.

He was part of the support staff at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and then GB Snowsport's team during the last Paralympic cycle, supporting all disciplines.

He attended the Beijing Winter Paralympics in March as lead physio for GB's Para-alpine squad.

"Raph's work ethic, expertise and empathy were outstanding," Heywood added.

"His enthusiasm for his role and his love of elite sport and the people in it stood out to anyone who spent time with him."

Jayne Kavanagh, head of GB's Paralympic programmes, said: "We are all devastated to receive this terribly sad news about Raph. He was such an important member of the GB Snowsport team.

"Our thoughts are with Raph's family and friends and we will continue to offer our support however we can."