Kelly Gallagher (alpine skier)

Kelly Marie Gallagher, MBE (born 18 May 1985), is a British skier and the first athlete from Northern Ireland to compete in the Winter Paralympics. Gallagher won Britain's first ever Winter Paralympic gold medal during Sochi 2014.[1]

Kelly Gallagher
Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans.JPG
Gallagher (right) with her guide Charlotte Evans at the 2013 IPC World Championships
Personal information
Full nameKelly Marie Gallagher
National team Great Britain
Born (1985-05-18) 18 May 1985 (age 34)
Northern Ireland, UK
Country United Kingdom
 Northern Ireland
Event(s)Alpine Skiing

Early lifeEdit

Gallagher was born on 18 May 1985[2] and was raised in Bangor in the north of County Down. Her father, Patrick Gallagher, was an airline pilot. She is a graduate in mathematics from the University of Bath.[3][4]


Gallagher has oculocutaneous albinism,[5] is visually impaired and competes with a sighted guide. At the 2009 New Zealand Winter Games Gallagher, competing with guide Claire Robb, won gold in her first ever international race, the giant slalom.[6]

She was selected for the British team at the 2010 Winter Paralympics in February 2010.[7][8] Gallagher is funded by the Sport Northern Ireland Athlete Support Programme and supported by the Sports Institute for Northern Ireland and is also backed by Disability Sports NI.[9]

2010 ParalympicsEdit

Gallagher was one of seven skiers for Great Britain at the 2010 Winter Paralympics and became the first athlete from Northern Ireland to compete in the Winter Paralympics.[7] At the Games she contested the giant slalom and slalom events for visually impaired athletes.[10] She finished sixth in the slalom but achieved the British team's highest finish, missing out on a medal by a single place and 3.36 seconds in the giant slalom.[11]

Between ParalympicsEdit

Downhill final of the 2013 IPC Alpine World Championships at La Molina in Spain. Kelly Gallagher (white tunic) and guide Charlotte Evans (orange tunic)

Following the Paralympics Gallagher sought a new sighted guide to work with her through to the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi and selected 19-year-old Charlotte Evans from Medway. Evans had been out of the sport after she snapped a cruciate ligament in 2009 but took up the role having become a qualified coach.[12]

In January 2011 Gallagher became the first British athlete to win a medal at the IPC World Championships. Competing with Evans the pair won the silver medal in the slalom and bronze in the giant slalom at the event held in Sestriere only five weeks after they started working together.[13] The pairing also won a gold medal in slalom at the 2011 Europa Cup Finals.[14]

2014 ParalympicsEdit

Gallagher won Britain's first ever Winter Paralympic gold on 10 March 2014, during the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. She finished first in the visually impaired Super-G competition.[5] She fell during both the super-combined and the giant slalom.

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to sport for people with a visual impairment.[15] The Ski Club of Great Britain awarded her with a Pery Medal along with the other medal winners from the 2014 Olympics and Paralympics.

2017 World Championships and 2018 ParalympicsEdit

In 2017 Gallagher was selected for the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Tarvisio in Italy. Partnered with Gary Smith, she crashed during training on the championship sloped and injured herself after colliding into the safety netting.[16] She sustained a dislocated elbow and three fractured ribs in the accident and was airlifted to a local hospital.[16] Gallagher's injuries ruled her out of the championship and her subsequent rehabilitation meant that she only returned to the slopes in the season leading up to the 2018 Winter Paralympics.[17] Despite losing time to her injuries Gallagher was still able to secure her place in the Great Britain team for the 2018 Paralympics.[17]

2019 World ChampionshipsEdit

At the 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships, Gallagher and Smith narrowly missed out on medals in the slalom and the giant slalom by finishing fourth, being pipped to the bronze by a tenth of a second in the latter by team-mates Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe. However they claimed their first medal of the championships in the downhill, where they took a silver behind Fitzpatrick and Kehoe. They then went on to take two bronzes in the super-G and combined, increasing Gallagher's number of Worlds medals won to nine.[18]


  1. ^ "Judith Gillespie leads Northern Ireland Queen's Birthday honours list". BBC News. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Kelly Gallagher profile". Sochi Paralympics. Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  3. ^ "Kelly makes history at World Championships". Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  4. ^ "University of Bath graduate makes history with slalom silver". Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Sochi Paralympics: Kelly Gallagher wins Paralympic gold". BBC Sport Disability Sport. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  6. ^ Lindsay, Jessica (9 March 2018). "Who is Kelly Gallagher? Great Britain's only Winter Paralympics gold medallist". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  7. ^ a b "NI skier Kelly Gallagher named in GB Paralympic team". BBC Sport. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Gallagher to compete at Paralympic Winter Games". 3 February 2010. Archived from the original on 5 June 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  9. ^ Bashford, Michael (17 February 2010). "Bangor girl competes for GB at Winter Paralympics". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  10. ^ Results for Kelly Gallagher from the International Paralympic Committee (archived)
  11. ^ "Kelly Gallagher claims fourth at Winter Paralympics". BBC Sport. 19 March 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  12. ^ "Charlotte Evans shares in a piece of Brit sporting history". Retrieved 20 April 2011.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Hudson, Elizabeth (22 January 2011). "Paralympian Gallagher delight at world ski medals". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  14. ^ "Kelly Gallagher takes GOLD at Europa Cup Finals". Disability Sports NI. 16 March 2011. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  15. ^ "No. 60895". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2014. p. b19.
  16. ^ a b Hope, Nick (24 January 2017). "IPC Alpine World Championships: Kelly Gallagher fractures ribs & dislocates elbow". BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  17. ^ a b "PyeongChang 2018: History-maker Kelly Gallagher heading to third Winter Paralympic Games". 8 February 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  18. ^ Hanna, Gareth (31 January 2019). "Kelly Gallagher wins three medals in two days at World Championships". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 9 March 2019.

External linksEdit