Powell unsure on Paralympic future
12:00 14 June 2014
Former Coopers pupil still to decide on plans
Romford’s Caroline Powell still boasts a smile as expansive as the Caucasus Mountains where she guided Jade Etherington to an unprecedented four medals at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games.
But, despite their unparalleled success, the 19-year-old admits a decision on whether Great Britain’s most successful Winter Paralympians will compete together again might not be made until August.
With just six months of training behind them Powell and Etherington surpassed all expectations in Russia, picking up three silvers and a bronze and only missed out on a fifth medal after illness struck.
But with questions marks over future funding and Etherington’s health, which forced her out of her final event in Sochi, the chances that the pair could eclipse their efforts at PyeongChang 2018 appear slim.
Regardless, both are keeping their bodies in check ahead of the winter season restarting and former Coopers pupil Powell insists she would love to continue their relationship on the snow.
“At the moment we are both just currently in our own regimes where we are getting fit again and getting healthy again ahead of a winter season.” said Powell, speaking at a Get Set to Make a Change event for Colchester’s Market Field School.
“I was only involved in the last six months of what was a four-year cycle for Jade so it was important for her to take a break and rest.
“I think she also has a few things going on with her own physical state and certain things she wants to do, like getting qualifications and her teaching so this is now her time to sort that out.
“We will come together again at the end of summer – probably in August or September – and look at what we want to do.
“There are another four years until the next Games, which is a very long time considering Jade and I only came together six months before Sochi.
“But it would be lovely to be able to guide again and compete again and that is just a discussion we are going to have and I don’t think we have any decisions on that at the moment.
“[Funding] will be a big part in whether we do continue or not because this season, although we had great support from the National Lottery and UK Sport, it was still really hard.”
Away from competition, Powell is well on her way to completing her Alpine Level 3 ISIA teaching qualification as she looks to build her instructor portfolio with a future career in mind.
And, even if she was to return to competitive action on the slopes at the back end of the year, Powell admits it is unlikely to be as intense as her overwhelming introduction to visually impaired alpine skiing.
“I went away and did a British alpine ski instructor qualification, I’ve nearly completed my level three and that is an international qualification so you can teach anywhere,” she added.
“For me, I really want to progress on in the instructor world and still be able to teach people how to ski as that has been my passion since I was nine years old.
“The adaptive circuit is still very new to me and I wouldn’t really know what races are out there at the beginning of a season because for us last season it was more about training.
“There are still other races we would like to do like the World Championships and there are still things to consider. But we are not going out all guns blazing the year after a Winter Paralympics.”
*Through GSTMC, the British Olympic Foundation, in conjunction with the British Paralympic Association is using the spirit of the London Games to re-inspire young people across the UK.
The project is being supported by a £2.5m grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Keeping the Spirit of 2012 Alive campaign. Visit makeachange.org.uk for more information.