Sochi Paralympics: Jade Etherington wins downhill silver

By Nick HopeBBC Paralympic sports reporter in Sochi
Etherington 'proud' of historic silver

Jade Etherington became the first British woman to win a Winter Paralympic medal on the snow with silver in the visually impaired downhill at the Sochi Games.

The 22-year-old from Lincoln and her guide Caroline Powell - who are making their Games debuts - clocked one minute 34.28 seconds at Rosa Khutor.

They finished 2.73 seconds behind Slovakia's Henrieta Farkasova and her guide Natalia Subrtova.

GB team-mate Kelly Gallagher was sixth.

Etherington's silver is Britain's first Winter Paralympic medal since the wheelchair curlers won silver at the Turin Games in 2006, and a first skiing medal since 1994.

After crossing the line, Etherington, competing on the first day of action at the Games, crashed into the hoardings but, after a few anxious moments, got back to her feet.

"We're really happy and I am delighted with the silver medal. I don't think it's sunk in yet," she told BBC Sport.

"We knew going down that it was a solid run, despite my little jump and crash at the end, but I think I was just pleased to get down and it is great to have that confidence boost for the rest of the competition.

"We've had so much support from everyone, especially our parents and family, and we just want to thank them."

Etherington was born with glaucoma and the genetic eye condition Axenfeld Syndrome, and teamed up with Powell, from Essex, at the end of last season.

Gallagher, meanwhile, has vowed to bounce back in Monday's Super-G - the second of her five events at Sochi 2014.

"Every day we go out to win and we certainly didn't today but that's the way ski-racing goes sometimes," the 28-year-old said. "We still have four more races to come back stronger.

"I'm so excited for Jade - winning a silver medal at the Paralympics is so great for our sport."

GB chef de mission Penny Briscoe said: "The mood in the camp was good but it has laid a foundation for a great few days ahead.

"To get one medal in the bag will really boost morale and I think getting it will settle any nerves that may have been lingering. It shows how well prepared we are and how far we have come.

"There is a real focus and steely determination that this is the Games of opportunity for ParalympicsGB and the athletes are determined to go out and give personal best performances."

Britain's other competitor on the slopes on Saturday, sit-skier Anna Turney, fell during her downhill run.

"Physically I'm all right. I will be sore tomorrow but I haven't hurt myself which is a big relief," she told BBC Sport.

"The course is really bumpy and the conditions are pretty tough. I landed on a bit of an edge and bounced. I was going for it and that's all you can do."