Menna Fitzpatrick and Jen Kehoe are still the same smiling, inseparable duo that set off for PyeongChang three weeks ago; with one small exception – the four Paralympic medals hanging around their necks.
Aside from those heavy mementos of success, the pair don’t seem weighed down by anything as they breezed through the long media duties at Heathrow Airport that come with being Britain’s most decorated Paralympic athletes.
After crashing in their opening Para Alpine Skiing event, the downhill, Fitzpatrick and her guide Kehoe, won a medal in their next four events.
Two silvers in the Super Combined and the Giant Slalom followed a bronze medal in the Super G, before their crowning moment arrived on Sunday, winning gold in the Slalom and edging out the imperious Slovak, Henrieta Farkasova.
Kehoe, speaking at the Paralympics GB welcome event at Heathrow Airport, said: “We haven’t had a chance to process what we’ve achieved.
“It’s still sinking in, we’re still pinching ourselves, we don’t know what day it is really and jet lag is definitely starting to kick in!
Fitzpatrick added: “It’s indescribable. It feels as though we have represented GB and made everyone proud.”
The two laughed as the reminisced about the winning moment in PyeongChang, and seeing Farkasova cross the line 0.66 seconds behind their time.
Fitzpatrick said: “Jen just threw down her sticks, I dropped my skis, we screamed and full on hugged each other.
“The support we’ve had from friends and family has been amazing. I think most of them lost their voices from screaming too loud.”
Kehoe said: “My brother feinted from screaming too loud.”
It was a memorable flight home, after British Airways put up bunting on their plane and the athletes were given personalised bottles of champagne.
And the celebrations are set to continue at home, with Fitzpatrick looking forward to spending time with friends and family after not having time to celebrate properly out in South Korea.
But in the long term, a return to Paralympic competition is on the horizon – with both athletes targeting a return in four years’ time.
Fitzpatrick said: “We’re planning to go to the 2019 World Championships in January and Beijing 2022 is on the cards too.”
Kehoe added: “A lot can change in four years, but that certainly is our plan.”
Not content with just breaking British Paralympic records, Fitzpatrick wants to encourage others to take part in para skiing, or any sport that takes their fancy.
She said: “Go out there and try it, whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, ice sports or any other sports.
“Go out there and have fun and put all your effort into it because you never know what might happen.”
Sainsbury’s is a proud long-term supporter of the British Paralympic Association and a champion of inclusive sport for all. For more information on Sainsbury’s commitment to inclusive sport visit http://www.j-sainsbury.co.uk/