Great Britain’s Paralympic snow sports team is joining forces with the country’s Olympic team, to become part of the same world-class programme from next season.
The collaborative move means that Para alpine skiing, Para Nordic skiing and Para snowboard programmes – currently run by British Parasnowsport – will now be able to tap into the coaching expertise and research within the Olympic squads overseen by British Ski & Snowboard. Specialist Para coaches will continue in their roles, ensuring a seamless transition for the athletes themselves.
Following the integration of the programmes, British Ski & Snowboard (BSS) will now be responsible for disciplines pertaining to 49 per cent of Winter Olympic medals and 97.5 per cent of Winter Paralympic medals (relevant to PyeongChang 2018 events).
“This really is an exciting time for everyone involved,” said Vicky Gosling OBE, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BSS. “There is a natural fit for all British snowsports – both Para and able-bodied – to be integrated within the same organisation and this period post-PyeongChang is the perfect time to get things started.
“There’s been a huge amount of work done behind the scenes by British Ski & Snowboard, Disability Sport UK (DSUK) and UK Sport to ensure athletes’ preparations for the upcoming season are not affected in any way by the changes being made behind the scenes.”
The move will allow DSUK to focus directly on driving participation programmes for anyone with a disability who wants to get involved in skiing or snowboarding, as well as developing the next generation of aspiring elite athletes. BSS will keep a strong relationship with DSUK to ensure pathways between the grassroots and elite levels of the sport are maintained.
“It’s a big step to take, but we firmly believe that both our organisation and the athletes will benefit from this decision,” said Fiona Young, DSUK CEO. “DSUK will be able to focus singularly on driving growth in access to participation for all those who want to be involved in snowsports.
“British Ski & Snowboard continues to grow as an organisation both on and off the slopes, and the administrative, performance and technological support they will be able to provide the British Parasnowsport programmes means the future is in very safe hands.”