Winter Paralympic Games: Menna and Jen do it again… Fitzpatrick and Kehoe glide to PyeongChang silver

Butterflies that are drinking tea while doing yoga – that’s not the start to a bizarre fairytale, more like Menna Fitzpatrick’s secret to becoming a Paralympic silver medallist.

Perhaps a little exaggerated but for the British alpine skier, even the most extreme methods have taken their place in a miraculous transformation.

Two days ago, all the 19-year-old wanted to do in PyeongChang was finish a race after her Paralympic dream started in nightmare fashion with a crash.

But since then Fitzpatrick has lit up the World Cup scene with guide Jennifer Kehoe, taking ParalympicsGB’s medal tally to four in the process.

Bronze in Sunday’s super-G was progress in itself but a storming super-combined effort – featuring super-G followed by slalom – proved that even the darkest cloud has its silver lining.

“I need to take a deep breath! It feels absolutely amazing, I’m over the moon,” she said.

“We are a little surprised at this, it took a lot of effort and time and worrying thoughts to get through what happened, but everything just came together this time.

“I felt a lot better. In the start gate just before we go out, when the nerves start increasing, I think about butterflies that are drinking tea whilst doing yoga.

“It came from three different techniques of calming you down – one is having butterflies fly around in your stomach, the next is t-cup (think calm under pressure) and the third is yogic breathing.

“Before Sunday’s super-G, I tried to think of all three which got a bit confusing, it made me laugh and relaxed and since then it seems to have worked!

“When we relax into it and the body is loose and flowing, you can just let your skis do the job and allow your body to feel natural.”

Taking part in two events in one day, Fitzpatrick and Kehoe started strongly to sit second following the super-G race – the event in which they had won Paralympic bronze just 48 hours previously.

The visually impaired duo had champion Henrieta Farkasova to aim for but the Slovakian proved just too much of a tough nut to crack in the slalom, securing her third Paralympic gold medal already this Games.

But with the stand-alone slalom and giant slalom still to come, the bid for gold is still not over for the teenager.

Given the nature of her first event, that’s a statement catching even Fitzpatrick by surprise – and it’s all done with a smile.

“The communication was there, we had a really good warm-up, the sun was shining – everything came together and it’s a fabulous day,” added Fitzpatrick, who has less than five per cent vision.

“Slalom is always a tricky one to get into after doing speed races, the skis feel so short but it was just an amazing day, the course was really good and we’ve still got the slalom to come which is good.

“You’re always going to be thinking about more races to come, we now have two medals which we’re delighted with so we’re just going to give it our all.

“For now we’re just enjoying everything we do, we ski so much better when we’re enjoying it and over the past two races we’ve been able to do that.”

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

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