Powell reveals secret to silver success
16:00 09 March 2014
Former Coopers pupil begins Paralympics in style
Caroline Powell revealed a moment of relative calm before 90 seconds of madness was the secret to success as she guided Jade Etherington to Paralympic silver in the women’s downhill at Sochi 2014.
Former Coopers Coborn pupil Powell, 19, competing at her first ever Winter Paralympics, took time to calm visually impaired skier Etherington at the top of the course at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.
And it clearly worked as Powell’s guidance helped Etherington finish in a time of 1min 34.28secs to place second behind eventual winner Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakia.
That result earned Great Britain a first Winter Paralympic medal on snow since 1994 and made history as it was the first ever skiing medal won by a British woman at the Games.
And Powell, who only teamed up with Etherington in August last year, insists the pair’s ever-growing friendship – especially at the start – was vital to their success.
“We’re happy we stuck to our plan. We were really excited so we knew that being excited rather than nervous usually means we will have a good run,” said Powell.
“I’m so proud of Jade and what she’s done. At the top of the hill we went away from the rest of the group and had a chat, and we said to each other ‘we can do this’. And we’ve done it!
“We kept the communication up, I think that’s a big thing. In our training run we had a lack of communication so we really wanted to build that into our last run.
“We thought ‘it’s our last downhill run, we’re just going to go for it, whatever happens, happens’ and we got down. It’s basically a friendship so you have to build a friendship and that can take years.
“In our case we had to build it within a short space of time, but we were really honest with each other from the beginning.
“She taught me so much about guiding, I just went with what she said and it has just worked, it has come together now and we’re just so happy.”
Remarkably it was just Powell and Etherington’s third competitive downhill run together – the first two, however, did warrant two gold medals at an IPC World Cup event in January.
And with four more events to come at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre high above Sochi, starting with the women’s Super-G tomorrow Powell is optimistic of more success.
“Jade really helps me out because I don’t have to look behind myself most of time,” she added. “She’s always saying ‘yes, I’ve passed the gate, yes, let’s go’ and I just go for it.
“It’s nice to have that behind me and nice to know she’s there so I don’t have to turn around.
“We take great confidence from this, but I think it’s a new discipline the next day and we need to refocus, get our heads down again and just take it as it comes.”
*Sainsbury’s is a proud long-term supporter of the British Paralympic Association and a champion of inclusive sport for all.
For more information on Sainsbury’s commitment to inclusive sport visit: www.Sainsburys.co.uk/activekids.