A hero’s welcome?
Paralympic skier Jade Etherington received a hero’s welcome after winning four medals at the Sochi Winter Olympics. But she told i she faces an uncertain future as a Paralympian because a lack of funding has left her with big debts.
Are her costs not covered?
Far from it. Since last August, Jade has received a small bursary from Sport UK to cover her £9,000 team membership fee plus a little more for expenses. But she says trying to find funding for coaching, flights, hotels, course fees and her guideoften holds up her training.
And she’s our most successful ever winter Paralympian?
Yes. Along with her guide, Caroline Powell, the partially blind Ms Etherington won a medal in every competition she contended at Sochi, bringing home silvers in the downhill, slalom and super combined, and a bronze in the super-G.
How desperate is her situation?
Ms Etherington, who postponed taking a teaching job to pursue her Paralympian dreams, said yesterday: “I’ve missed out on a year’s work and if I continue until the next games, it will be another four years. It’s all or nothing – I have a tough decision to make.”
What would she like to happen?
“People see only see a snippet of what I do – and it’s the good side,” Ms Etherington said. “But we’re not going to have future heroes if people don’t get supported from the bottom. We need funding for a world-class program for every member of the team.”
The British Paralympic Association is a registered charity that helps fund athletes’ preparations for the Paralympics. You can contribute at paralympics.org.uk/support-us