Fourth medal for Etherington

  • Last Updated: March 14 2014, 13:35 GMT

Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell gave their Russian hosts an almighty scare as a third Sochi silver signalled another historic day for Great Britain at the Winter Paralympics.

Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell struck silver in Sochi
Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell struck silver in Sochi

Visually-impaired skier Etherington and guide Powell produced the race of their life to become the first Britons to win four medals at one Winter Games.

A gutsy, all-or-nothing super-G run took them to within a whisker of a maiden gold only for home favourite Aleksandra Frantceva to pip them to the super combined title.

Etherington said: "We haven't skied as well as that ever, it was one of our best runs and we pulled back a couple of seconds.

"It was tough, it hurt all the way down. We are really annoyed not to get the gold and it was so close again to Frantceva (who beat the pair to the slalom crown), but we got a medal and we will continue fighting.

"It is crazy (to win four medals), especially as this is my first ever Paralympics and we have had such a bumpy season.

"Hopefully everyone can see from the time that we did fight for it, we didn't just come down to get the silver and we did GB proud."

The duo were all but guaranteed a top-three place going into Friday's run. With only three pairs left in the competition following the opening slalom segment on Tuesday, they lay second and knew they only had to finish to claim a medal.

The pair were brave enough to risk throwing it away by going for gold, but in the end the 3.12 seconds they had to make up on Frantceva proved too tough an ask. It was a close call, though, with the Russia taking the title by 0.63secs.

Etherington, 23, and Powell, 19, finished in a combined time of 2:28.38, well clear of American bronze medal winner Danelle Umstead.

Their super-G run of 1:26.58 was 2.49s quicker than Frantceva's. It was also 2.14 faster than team-mates Kelly Gallagher and Charlotte Evans had gone in winning gold in that event on Monday, albeit in different conditions.

All from a pair who were initially not even scheduled to compete in the super combined before a late call to enter.

This silver followed other second-placed finishes in the slalom and the downhill events and bronze in the super-G, making them Britain's most decorated female Winter Paralympians ever.

It also earned Britain their fifth medal of the week, dwarfing UK Sport's target of at least two.

Gallagher and Evans have the only gold, but the rate at which Etherington's and Powell's collection is growing has taken even them by surprise. They only met last April and first skied together in August.

Powell said: "Jade has definitely reached her peak. Together we have formed a great bond.

"There is great communication between us, it has worked so well throughout the season and we have peaked at the right time.

"We have managed to get four medals and we are so happy with that. We are obviously devastated not to get the gold, but we can't do anything about that."

Yet more history beckons on Sunday in the giant slalom - no Briton has won five Winter Paralympic medals.

Not that the pair are holding out too much hope, despite their incredible run so far this week.

"It is well known on the circuit that me and Caroline don't like GS," Etherington added.

Sit-skier Anna Turney missed out on super combined bronze as she crashed out on her super-G run, with only two of the five-strong field finishing.

That meant just getting down the course would have secured a medal, but, as the first skier out of the gate and with time to make up, she knew she could not take it easy.

"I was lying in fifth, I had to go for it," Turney said. "I was first out of the gate, I went for it, I tried to ski clean, I tried to ski fast.

"I think I was just too aggressive for the (softer) snow conditions and crashed."

Mick Brennan, the former soldier who lost his legs in a suicide bomb attack in Iraq in 2004, claimed his highest finish so far by finishing eighth in the men's sitting event.

On Saturday, the wheelchair curlers will bid for a medal as they go up against hosts Russia for a place in the final.


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