Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Paralympic champion Kelly Gallagher has done us proud

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

Kelly Gallagher in action
Kelly Gallagher in action

The best of the best are their own harshest critics and our own new Golden girl Kelly Gallagher is turning out to be no different.

While the rest of us rejoice at her stunning Gold medal success on the Winter Paralympic slopes – Great Britain's first in the history of the games – Kelly returns home from Sochi counting the ones that got away.

"It makes us sound maybe spoilt but it's because we have worked so hard," Bangor girl Kelly lamented. "We had the chance for five gold medals and we chased after every single one of them. It's hard to pick yourself up from that."

But pick herself up, she will, because Kelly is a fighter. Let us not forget here is a visually impaired 28-year-old hurling herself down treacherous slopes with only a glimpse of her guide's hi-viz jacket as a sat-nav.

Courage and bravery are words loosely bandied about in the sporting lexicon. Kelly epitomises the true dictionary definition.

When her disappointment at bringing home 'just' one gold medal subsides, she may come to realise the magnitude of her achievement through the words of a golden predecessor, the great Dame Mary Peters.

"There is no better feeling to stand on the top step of that podium, knowing at that moment in time, you are the best in the world at what you do," is how Mary describes her 1972 Munich Olympic pentathlon triumph.

Nothing can take that away from Kelly Gallagher. She did herself, her country and her family proud, and we wish her every future success in the hope it is truly all downhill from here, in the best of the best possible ways.

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