Shona Brownlee says being a sponge for her environment in Beijing is the perfect catalyst to launch an assault on the 2026 Paralympic podium.
The sit-skier, from Livingstone, ended her memorable Paralympic debut on Saturday with a tough ninth-place finish in the slalom.
Brownlee, 41, fell in the Yanqing snow in her first run but fought back bravely to cross the line and finish her third run at the Games behind heavy hitters Anna-Lena Forster, Zhang Wenjing and Liu Sitong.
The Scot only started skiing competitively two years ago and believes immersing herself in the exploits of these three heavyweights can accelerate her rapid development.
Determination. Resilience. Unwavering.
— C4 Paralympic Games (@C4Paralympics) March 12, 2022
“It’s about building on the experience I’ve gained this week,” she said.
“Being around all these other people and being able to watch them and the things they can do is huge – when I train and compete alongside them, you can learn a lot.
“At the end of a race, you see the best guys come down and see them do certain things, and you think, ‘I could do it’, so there are always things to learn.
“It’s just about taking that experience and putting it into practice now.
“I went down to the fourth gate on my first run, so I felt a little more pressure – but I wanted to get up and get another Paralympic finish under my belt.
“It wasn’t the best race but I did it, I got down and I got some experience.”
Brownlee took two ninths and a sixth in Beijing as she put in a strong performance on her debut and learned valuable lessons for the future.
The Royal Air Force aviator is flying to Colorado just four days after landing in the UK where she will compete in an armed forces para-sport event followed by the US Paralympic National Championships.
At 42, Brownlee represents one of the senior sit-skiers on the circuit, but he is determined to prove that age is just a number before the next cycle of the Games.
She is aiming to complete some alpine Italian work at Milan-Cortina 2026 and says having her family there to see it would make it even more special.
6th place for his Paralympic debut 👏
— C4 Paralympic Games (@C4Paralympics) March 6, 2022
“I may be in the upper age range at the minute, but I feel like I’m just declaring myself,” added Brownlee, one of more than 1,000 athletes able to s’ train full-time, have access to the best trainers in the world and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to vital funding from the National Lottery.
“It’s not the end for me – it’s just the beginning of my journey.
“Hopefully there won’t be the same Covid restrictions then – it will be good for my family and friends to go through this as well.”
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