This month I had the pleasure to speak with Edge Magazine, a publication that provides a lot of support to Disability Snowsport UK, a charity close to my heart. You can read my interview below, which featured as part of a Paralympics special...
Winter Paralympics - Not Giving Up
Lying in a hospital bed after a rally car crash left him paralysed from the neck down in 2011, it was the sight of a poster for the Paralympics that gave Chris Lloyd the motivation not just to recover, but to become an athlete.
Now the 43-year-old represents Great Britain in the Para Snowsports Giant Slalom, Super Combined, Super G and Downhill. After three World Cup Top 15 finishes in 2016, he feels ready to show the world how far he’s come in Pyeongchang.
“The games mean everything to me and my family. Ever since I fist saw a poster for the Paralympics on the hospital wall, it has been my goal to ski for my country at the Winter Paralympics. I almost had the opportunity four years ago in Sochi, but 2014 came around a little too quickly. Now I feel ready and hungry.”
Chris is classified LW9-1, for people with upper and lower limb function problems - he has 40% power in his right leg and 50% in his left. He explains: “It takes me 3 or 4 times more energy to be able to ski a course. Once fatigue sets in my legs give up and I struggle to stand. Just to be able to ski again is the thing I’m most proud of. It’s been a long and difficult journey to get to this point and everything from here forward is a bonus.”
As well as training hard on the slopes and in the gym, Chris uses meditation to relax and achieve a positive mindset - from which he says anything is possible with the body. When you consider that straight after the accident he couldn’t feed or wash himself, the fact he was back on skis a year later, and now races for his country, is nothing short of incredible.
So what is it about skiing that inspired him? “Skiing is a real adrenaline rush and it allows me to be out in the mountains and fresh air, which I love. I do it because it makes me feel alive and motivates me to improve and be the best I can be.”