Kelly Gallagher has already danced her way into a third Paralympic Winter Games but the Northern Irish skier insists there are plenty more moves still to come in PyeongChang.

The visually impaired alpine skier became Paralympic champion at Sochi 2014 but just getting to South Korea produced the gold-medal feeling four years on.

Gallagher and guide Gary Smith hadn’t even expected to reach the winter pinnacle event but, having battled past the odds, enjoyment has become the optimum aim.

As the Bangor athlete skipped around the stadium during the opening ceremony, milking in the moment was certainly evident for all to see.

But the smile was replaced with tears – both good and bad – as the 32-year-old skied to eighth place in her opening super-G race, the discipline in which she was defending a crown.

“I am really happy with that. There are places where I know I need to improve and parts of the course where it gets faster and faster,” she said.

“I need to enjoy that speed and listen to Gary when he tells me to tuck and follow his instructions.

“I just need to ski like I’ve got nothing to lose and try to channel that. It didn’t quite go to plan today but what did go to plan was the feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction of pushing out of the start gate, getting into the course and working together.

“I feel overwhelmed about finishing, it’s really exciting and I was just hanging on to the girls that won, this was about relaxing into the Paralympic Games.”

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since Gallagher became ParalympicsGB’s first gold medallist in Sochi.

Injuries have always been a regularity of her career but a dislocated elbow and three fractured ribs threw this Games well into doubt, only getting her call-up late on.

Flinging herself down the mountains at 75mph is no mean feat at the best of times, let alone with those memories of last year still scarring.

But with three more events still to come, Gallagher and Smith are keen to show exactly why the visually impaired skier is a major part of British para-sport history.

“This time last year I couldn’t even brush my hair so this is massive step forward from then,” she added.

“There’re three more races and we have a lot to work on. We’re here though and a few months ago I was worried at the thought of even inspecting a super-G course.

“But we’re here and we’ve done a whole course. We might not look competitive but we’ve got it in us and we are going to do our best.

“We can throw everything at it and the kitchen sink. Even if we rest tomorrow we’ll be in the gym. We’ll get good results from being relaxed and chilling out.”

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