Published: 09:00, 04 June 2020
| Updated: 10:03, 04 June 2020
Para-skiing star Millie and mother Suzanne Knight have always been a team since the very beginning.
Millie took the sporting world by storm as she powered to two silvers and a bronze at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang, as mother Suzanne proudly watched on from the bottom of the South Korean slopes.
The hat-trick of medals was the just reward after years of sacrifice from the dynamic duo, Millie experimenting with nine different guides in 2014-15 before finally hitting the jackpot with Royal Navy submariner Brett Wild later that year.
And it all started alongside mother Suzanne, who reflected on her ‘challenging’ experience of partnering her daughter and how she has helped support her fledgling sporting career.
“We took Millie skiing after she lost her sight when she was six, and from the very beginning she said ‘I’m going to be a Paralympian’,” Suzanne, 56, recalled.
“I went along as Millie’s guide in her first development squad week as that’s what we’d always done, and getting a guide was expensive.
“I had raced a little when I was younger, but only at a very low level, and I was used to just going for a jolly and having a hot chocolate at the end of it!
“It was challenging - I wasn’t fit enough and sometimes it was scary, as it was something that wasn’t very natural to me.
“But everybody understood why we were in that situation - I did find it hard work, but it was just about getting Millie on the snow and getting her used to being coached.”
The mother-daughter pairing scooped third place in their maiden competition together in Landgraaf, Holland, in 2012, as Millie embarked on a journey that would culminate six years later in Paralympic nirvana.
After an appearance at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi and finally discovering Wild in 2015, the newly-formed pair set about ascending the podium at the Games in South Korea in 2018.
And after three years of preparation, Millie shot to fame in PyeongChang, claiming medals in the Downhill, Super-G and Slalom events to make all of Suzanne’s sacrifices worthwhile.
“We went to the Games with no expectation, but Millie pulled it out of the bag and got two silvers and a bronze which to us, felt like gold or platinum and we were thrilled,” Suzanne added.
“It is a we with me and Millie - we've always worked really well together, and she’s worth completely it.”
Millie is currently studying Psychology at the University of Kent after completing her A-Levels at the King’s School, Canterbury, diligently juggling her education and training ahead of a further tilt at Paralympic glory in Beijing in 2022.
But behind every sporting story is a tale of teamwork and dedication, with Suzanne’s influence still being stamped on everything the 21-year-old achieves on the slopes.
“I don’t even think I can describe how much pride Millie’s career fills me with - it’s enormous,” she added.
“Beijing 2022 is now the next aim, along with Milano Cortina in 2026. It’s all very exciting and will be fun, and I will always be there for her.”
*Click here for more exclusive content from currently supported SportsAid athletes, their parents and guardians, and the charity’s extensive alumni.