Owen Pick 2018 Winter Paralympics

Owen Pick competing at the 2018 Winter Paralympics. (Picture: ParalympicsGB)

Paralympics

Eight Forces stars you should watch out for at the 2022 Winter Paralympics

There are eight top military talents aiming for medals in Beijing.

Owen Pick 2018 Winter Paralympics

Owen Pick competing at the 2018 Winter Paralympics. (Picture: ParalympicsGB)

The 2022 Winter Paralympic Games provides a great opportunity for a military competitor to come home with a medal.

There are eight Forces stars competing in Beijing, ranging from disciplines like Alpine skiing to snowboarding, as well as Para Nordic skiing.

Here's a comprehensive list on who to watch out for.

Steve Arnold – GB Para Nordic skier

Steve Arnold is an Army veteran who was the Team UK vice-captain at the 2017 Invictus Games. There he was competing in hand-cycling while later, he would also complete the Race across America.

Arnold eventually joined the British Cycling programme, but narrowly missed out on a place at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

That spurred on a change for the former Staff Sergeant as he took up Para Nordic skiing in 2017. He, once again, just missed out on a Winter Paralympics spot four years ago but his performances since then have guaranteed qualification for Beijing.

He will be competing in both the biathlon and cross country events.

Senior Aircraftwoman Shona Brownlee MBE – Alpine sit skier

SAC Brownlee has been a mainstay of the Armed Forces Para-snowsport team over the years and is considered the fastest female para-monoskier in the United Kingdom.

Her injury came just nine weeks into her RAF career. What she thought was just a simple ligament strain led to amputation in 2018.

Her rehab from surgery led to her sit ski career and she's never looked back.

Last year, she was named RAF Sportswoman of the Year at a ceremony at RAF Halton and also competed for the UK Armed Forces team.

She'll be in action in the Alpine sit ski Downhill, Super G, Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super Combined events.

Scott Meenagh – GB Para Nordic skier

Scott Meenagh is an experienced competitor at international competitions as he's appeared at three Invictus Games as well as plenty of international para-rowing events.

He started Nordic skiing in December 2014 and made his competitive GB debut at the World Cup two years later.

His accolades continued at his first Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi PyeongChang in 2016 where his best result was a 13th-placed finish in sitting biathlon.

Since then, he's claimed a number of top 10 results at the World Championships in 2019 but has missed out on that competition for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Royal Marine is a double leg amputee after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan at the age of 21.

He'll be competing in the biathlon and cross-county events.

Owen Pick – Snowboarder

An Afghanistan veteran who lost his leg in an IED blast will be hoping for medals in Beijing.

Owen Pick became a snowboard sensation on the back of his Army discharge as he quickly saw success in the sport.

He won silver at the 2017 World Championships and is another who competed at the 2018 Paralympics.

That was the first time GB had snowboard representation at the Paralympics and now, after winning the 2020 World Cup, Pick is aiming for medals.

Read more about Owen Pick's journey from Afghanistan to the Paralympics here.

Menna Fitzpatrick could have another military guide in Beijing after her partnership with the Army's Jen Kehoe with the RAF's Corporal Gary Smith on hand. (Picture: Alamy)

Dan Sheen – Alpine sit skier

The Army veteran is appearing at his first-ever Paralympic Games after attending the Paralympic Inspiration Programme in 2018.

Dan Sheen was injured in 2008 while on a tour of Afghanistan when an IED explosion blew away his left leg, destroyed the muscle in his right leg and shattered his pelvis.

A lot of hard work and several operations led to his recovery, and in 2015, he got his first taste of sit skiing. 

He'll be competing in the Alpine sit ski Downhill, Super G, Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super Combined events.

Alex Slegg – Alpine sit skier

Similar to Dan Sheen, Alex Slegg is an Army veteran competing at the Paralympics for the first time.

He learned to ski in 2016 through Great Britain's Battle Back programme after being diagnosed with a herniated disc three years earlier as a result of injuries suffered while serving with the British Army.

The herniated disc led to cauda equina syndrome, a condition where the patient's spinal nerve roots are compressed, resulting in paralysis from the chest down.

He'll also be competing in the Alpine sit ski Downhill, Super G, Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super Combined events.

Corporal Gary Smith, RAF – Ski guide

He's an experienced guide at Paralympic level having competed at the 2018 Games as well as guiding Paralympic champion Kelly Gallagher in the past.

Corporal Gary Smith will be on hand in Beijing to be a guide for Menna Fitzpatrick, who saw her partnership with the Army's Jen Kehoe end last year while her replacement guide Katie Guest is unavailable after testing positive for COVID-19.

Able Seaman Brett Wild, Royal Navy – Ski guide

Can AB Brett Wild and his partner Millie Knight do it again at the Paralympics?

In 2018, they won silver in the Downhill event, as well as the Super G, while finishing the week with a bronze in the slalom.

Since then, they've won gold at the World Cup and were awarded the Super G Crystal Globe for the 2021/22 season.

That means they will be a favourite for medals in the Alpine Downhill, Super G, Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super Combined events.