Royal Engineer Captain Jen Kehoe and Menna Fitzpatrick have won Gold in the Visually Impaired (VI) Slalom, their fourth medal victory at the 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympic Games, making them Britain’s most decorated Winter Paralympians ever. In addition, to the Gold, their impressive haul included Bronze in the VI Super G, and silver medals in the Super Combined, Downhill and Giant Slalom.
Captain Kehoe is the sighted skiing guide for Menna Fitzpatrick who has less than 3% vision. They began working together in 2015 after being put together by a Team Performance Director at Paralympics GB. They communicate on the slopes via bluetooth headsets and Capt Kehoe skis ahead of Menna wearing a bright orange jacket.
Speaking of the moment they realised they had won their first medal, Bronze in the Super G, Capt Kehoe said; “It was just ‘Oh my God we have crossed the finish line – we have finished a Paralympic race!’ That in itself is a dream come true so to medal in the first one that we finished was superb. To win Gold though is beyond our wildest dreams. We were trying to keep it together on the podium because it was hugely emotional.”
Menna Fitzpatrick has been skiing since the age of 5, despite being born with congenital retinal folds which left her with 3% vision in her right eye and no vision in her left. On working alongside Capt Keyhoe she said; “She’s great fun and very trustworthy and we need lots of trust in our sport. There’s definitely some cross-over between VI skiing and the military and it definitely helps.
“When we get it right, it feels as though we are working as one, it’s so much fun and I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.”