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Royal Navy skier aims to guide Paralympic athlete to gold

Royal Navy skier aims to guide Paralympic athlete to gold
24 March 2016
A Royal Navy submariner has been selected to guide partially sighted skier and Paralympic athlete Millie Knight as she prepares for the 2018 Winter Paralympics.

Able Seaman Wild, a 23-year-old steward on HMS Ambush, guided Millie on the slopes at the recent World Cup in Austria and then Aspen, winning the downhill race and then the overall Super G. 

“Our first time in gates together was the slalom race where we managed to get a bronze medal,” said the submariner, who has been given permission by the Royal Navy to now train with Millie until 2018.

“We then went from strength to strength in our second race together, Millie's first ever downhill, narrowly finishing second only 0.3 of a second away from the leaders. However on the second downhill race we improved further and won the race by over two seconds. 

“This success continued into both Super G races which we won comfortably which led to us winning the overall Super G golden globe. Millie and I are only the fourth and fifth Brits to ever win a golden globe so this was a brilliant achievement.”

A Glaswegian, Able Seaman Wild has been skiing since he was three years old and began racing at age seven. A top skier himself, he ski raced for the Scottish junior development squad between the ages 15-17 and has raced for the Navy and Combined Services teams.

Hopefully Millie and I can build on recent success at the World Cup finals and increase the bond to give us the best possible chance for gold in 2018

Able Seaman Wild

He was introduced to Millie a week before the World Cup finals where he trialled acting as her guide in Austria before Millie and the Parasnowsports GB Team requested Brett join them full time. 

Millie, 17, has raced as part of the GB Team for the past three years and competes in the slalom, giant slalom, Super G and downhill events with a sighted guide – who is now the Naval submariner. 

A flagbearer at 2014 Winter Paralympics opening ceremony in Sochi, she was the youngest person ever to compete for ParalympicsGB at the games.

“After a very brief introduction, and only a couple of days training in a whiteout, I instantly knew he would be a great guide for me,” said Millie. 

“The next time we would ski together was at the start gate of a World Cup slalom and we didn't do too badly...imagine what we can achieve together if we had some training!  

“He has some super communication skills and obviously he's a dynamic skier, I felt very confident with him and knew I could trust him to get me down a mountain safely and intelligently.

“We are looking forward to some great challenges ahead of us. I would like to thank the Royal Navy for releasing Brett to train with me... we won't let you down.”

When on the slopes the two communicate via a Bluetooth radio attached to both of their helmets and must stay within three metres of each other at all times. The submariner tells Millie what the terrain is like while she tells him whether to speed up or slow down.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and I'm extremely grateful that to the Navy,” said Able Seaman Wild. “Hopefully Millie and I can build on recent success at the World Cup finals and increase the bond to give us the best possible chance for gold in 2018.”

The training for the Winter Paralympics will see Brett spend around 160-170 days a year training on snow and 30-40 days on dry land training camps. This includes the World Championships in January and a pre Paralympic warm up race in Pyeongchang in February.

“The main thing over this year will be building mine and Millie's relationship and getting the trust,” he added. 

“Millie needs to be able to trust me 100% in order for her to ski to her full potential directly behind me in a race. We had a fantastic start and hopefully we can build on this.”

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