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December 13, 2012

Australia earns one medal on day three of 2012 IPC Nor-Am Cup

Australia earns one medal on day three of 2012 IPC Nor-Am Cup

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yesterday, on day three of the IPC Nor-Am Cup at Copper Mountain’s Rosie’s Arena run, Australia earned only one medal, with Cameron Rahles-Rahbula picking up a gold medal in the men’s standing Giant Slalom. The results were not as good for Australia as Tuesday’s, when Australia swept the exact same event. The course was technically difficult, with a number of skiers falling and unable to finish it.

Jonathan Walsh crashed in his first run and earned a did not finish. His failure to compete the first run meant he did not have a second run. Rahles-Raubula had a time of 1.00.68 in his first run and 59.21 in his second run for a combined run time of 1.59.89. Toby Kane and Mitchell Gourley did not start. Standing LW9-1 classified skier Jonty O’Callaghan did not finish.

Coming into IPC Nor-Am Cup, Australian skiers had a number of IPCAS points that assist them in qualifying for the [[w|2014 Winter Paralympics|2014 Paralympics in Sochi}}. At least one Australian skier, Melissa Perrine, has already qualified for Sochi assuming she does not get injured and maintains her points level. LW12-1 classified sit skier Victoria Pendergast had 406.06 points. Visually impaired B2 classified skier Jonathan Walsh and guide Jonathan Wong have 146.57 points. LW2 classified standing skier Rahles-Raubula had 52.76 and similarly classified skier Toby Kane had 26.61 points. Standing LW6/8-2 classified skier Mitchell Gourley had 3.24 points. Standing LW9-1 classified skier Jonty O’Callaghan had 321.38 points.

Australian skiers go back on the slopes today for the fourth day of competition, where they are to compete in the slalom event.

LW2 classified Cameron Rahles Rahbula on the podium after getting his medal
Image: LauraHale.

Australians before the competition started for the day at the bottom of the hill
Image: .

Guide skier Jono Wong pushes a wheelchair with mountain bike tires on it before the start of the day’s races
Image: LauraHale.

LW12-1 classified sit skier Victoria Pendergast comes down the hill in her first run
Image: LauraHale.

Jonathon Walsh and guide Jonathan Wong did not finish the race after a fall high up on the hill
Image: LauraHale.

Cameron Rahles Rahbula in his second run of the day
Image: LauraHale.

Cameron Rahles Rahbula in his second run of the day with his face patch covering where he had 13 stitches
Image: LauraHale.

Times for yesterday’s giant slalom race on the women’s side
Image: LauraHale.

Times for yesterday’s giant slalom race on the men’s side
Image: LauraHale.

Audio of the award ceremonies.
Image: LauraHale.



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December 11, 2012

Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic skier Andrew Bor

Wikinews interviews Australian Paralympic skier Andrew Bor

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunday, Wikinews sat down with Australian Paralympic guide skier Andrew Bor who was participating in a national team training camp in Vail, Colorado.

Wikinews reporters LauraHale and Hawkeye7 interview Australian Paralympic guide skier Andy Bor

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png This is Andrew Bor, who is Melissa Perrine‘s guide skier. How did you become a guide?

Andrew Bor: I was coaching with the team, the September before the games here. And the APC [Australian Paralympic Committee] found out, I’m not sure how, sent Melissa out to New Zealand where there was a training camp. She didn’t have a guide. And one of the coaches chose me to guide Mel.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Had you done much guiding before?

Andrew Bor: Two days. Guided a visually impaired athlete twice before that.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Was there a steep learning curve?

Andrew Bor: Yeah, very steep learning curve. Still learning.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is it more difficult as a male guide with a female skier, do you think, because the rules require you to use male ski equipment?

Andrew Bor: No. No, I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s any issue with that. The skis make a different radius turn. Sometimes. No, I don’t think it makes a huge difference.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png As a guide skier, do you think that guides should be getting medals when their skier gets a medal? Are you that important?

Andrew Bor: No, I don’t know. It’s the athlete’s performance really.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png But you’re an athlete aren’t you?

Andrew Bor: No. I’m their eyes if that makes any sense. If they don’t have the commitment to go down the hill, you’re never going to get them to go fast anyway. The guide’s responsibility is to put them in the right place. But beyond that…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You’ve gotten support because of the performance in Vancouver? The government has been supporting you guys?

Andrew Bor: The government has decided to support the guides as equally as the athletes. Before I was employed by the APC, and now I don’t get paid by the APC, I get the same support levels. Otherwise, you can’t do it, you can’t afford the time.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Why have you chosen skiing as opposed to oh, waterskiing or some other sport?

Andrew Bor: I’ve worked in this industry for about 20 years. Teaching skiing, coaching. It’s not something I chose to do, it’s something that kind of happened. After a while a door closed, a door opened. I enjoy the environment. Working outdoors and work in some lovely places. You get some great days when there’s blue sky and sunshine and other days in Australia where it might be two degrees and raining. But it beats working in an office.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think the classification system for blind skiers works and is a good one? Especially with the factoring issues, and you’re competing with B1, B2, B3, all compete against each other.

Andrew Bor: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t think there’s a big enough pool of athletes to have three different classes. It’s never going to be ideal. Different classes have different issues. The handicap for the twos and the threes is fairly similar across the different disciplines. Maybe the threes have an advantage in the tech because they can see a bit more, but they have a bit of a disadvantage in the speed because they can’t see enough to see the next gate and have to rely on the guide. Bit of a trade off. It’s never going to be perfect. It’s a tough one.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you planning to go to Sochi with Melissa?

Andrew Bor: Yes. Yes I am.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you think you guys have, you and Melissa can pick up a medal, and you get a medal?

Andrew Bor: I think Melissa is yeah. I think Melissa has a fairly good chance. You know, if things fall in place. I think she’s got an opportunity to win at least a medal. If things don’t fall in place. Yeah. She might miss out completely.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you plan to continue guide skiing with Melissa for a period following Sochi, or are you going to be like “I’ve had enough, I’m getting old, these mountains are really tall, I’m going to retire?”

Andrew Bor: I don’t know. We’ll wait and see. At the moment the commitment is until Sochi. You see with athletes, some announce their retirement early. Depends what Melissa wants to do. Depends on whether you achieve the goals that she sets or not. Whether she’s got unfinished business…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png But at the moment, the goal is Sochi?

Andrew Bor: The goal is Sochi, yes. You’ve got to have an end goal, and at the moment it’s Sochi. The energy of the last four years has been put into that. There’s been a commitment for her to go to Sochi, and at the same time you’ve got to commit to the same thing. The guide-to-athlete thing is a relationship that takes time to build and work out the needs of the athlete and the wants of the athlete. Beyond Sochi, don’t know. We’ll see.



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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


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December 10, 2012

Wikinews interviews Australian blind Paralympic skier Melissa Perrine

Wikinews interviews Australian blind Paralympic skier Melissa Perrine

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Vail, Colorado, United States — Yesterday, Wikinews sat down with Australian blind Paralympic skier Melissa Perrine who was participating in a national team training camp in Vail, Colorado.

Wikinews reporters LauraHale, Hawkeye7 and Bidgee interview Australian Paralympic skier Melissa Perrine

Melissa Perrine
Image: Australian Paralympic Committee.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png This is Melissa Perrine. And are you like Jess Gallagher and just here training and not competing?

Melissa Perrine: I’m not competing right now.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you competed in 2010 in Vancouver?

MP: I did. Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And who was your guide?

MP: Andy Bor.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Why a male guide? He’s got to have different skis, and he can’t turn exactly the same way.

MP: I think that with me it was just that Andy was the fittest person that was with the team when I came along. He used to be an assistant coach with the team before I started with him.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you guys have a good relationship?

MP: Yeah!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Like a husband and wife relationship without the sex?

MP: No, not at all. (laughs) Older brother maybe. Good relationship though. We get along really well.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So have you ever lost communications on the course in an embarrassing moment?

MP: We ski courses without communications. (unintelligible)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You’re a B3 then?

MP: I’m a B2.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you can see even less than Jessica Gallagher.

MP: Yes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How do you ski down a course when you can’t even see it?

MP: Andy!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You just said you had no communications!

MP: Oh, I just have to be a lot closer to him.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So if he’s close enough you can overcome that issue?

MP: Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Why are you doing skiing?

MP: Why? I enjoy it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You enjoy going fast?

MP: I love going fast. I like the challenge of it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Even though you can’t see how fast you’re going.

MP: Oh yes. It’s really good. It’s enjoyable. It’s a challenge. I love the sport, I love the atmosphere.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I’ve asked the standing skiers, who’s the craziest Paralympic skiers? Is it the ones who are on the sit skis, the blind ones or the ones missing limbs?

MP: I probably think it’s the sit skiers who are a bit nuts. I think we all think the other categories are a bit mental. I wouldn’t jump on a sit ski and go down the course. Or put the blindfold on and do the same thing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png B1 with the black goggles. Is your eye sight degenerative?

MP: No, I’m pretty stable.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Not going to become a B1 any time soon?

MP: Oh God, I hope not. No, I’m pretty stable so I don’t envision getting much blinder than I am now unless something goes wrong.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you’re trying for Sochi?

MP: Definitely.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png And you think your chances are really good?

MP: I think I’ve got a decent chance. I just have to keep training like I have been.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Win a medal this time?

MP: I’d like to. That’s the intention. (laughs)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you like the media attention you’ve gotten? Do you wish there was more for yourself and winter sports, or of women athletes in general?

MP: I think that promoting women in sport and the winter games is more important than promoting myself. I’m quite happy to stay in the background, but if I can do something to promote the sport, or promote women in the sport, especially because we’ve got such a small amount of women competing in skiing, especially in blind skiing. I think that’s more important overall.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Most skiers are men?

MP: There’s more men competing in skiing, far more. The standards are a bit higher with the males than with the females.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The classification system for everyone else is functional ability, and you guys are a medical classification. Do you think you get a fair shake in terms of classification? Are you happy with the classification?

MP: I think I’m happy with it, the way it’s set out. With vision impairment I’m a B2, against other B2s. It may be the same category, but we have different disabilities, so there’s not much more they can do. I think it’s as fair as they possibly can.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You like the point system? You’re okay with it? Competing against B1s and B3s even though you’re a B2?

MP: The factors even all that out. The way they’ve got it at the moment, I don’t have any issues with them, the blind categories.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What was it that got you skiing in the first place?

MP: An accident, basically. Complete by chance. A friend of mine in the Department of Recreation used to run skiing camps in the South West Sydney region, and she had a spare spot at one of the camps. Knew that I was vision impaired, and: “Do you want to come along?” “Yeah, why, not, give it a go.” This was back when I was about twelve, thirteen. I went, and I loved it. Went back again, and again, and again. And for the first five or six years I just skied for like a week a season sort of thing, like, you’re on a camp. Fell in love with the sport; my skiing and the mountain atmosphere, I love it, and then, when I finished my HSC, I decided to take myself off to Canada, and skiing Kimberley, the disabled race program that was run by the ex-Australian who coaches Steve Boba, and I’d heard about it through Disabled Winter Sports Australia. And I thought I’d spend some time in Canada, which is for skiing, and had a year off between school and uni, so… first time I ran through a race course actually. It was pretty awesome. So I went back again the next year, and Steve [Boba] recommended me to Steve [Graham], and he watched me skiing in September in the South Island, and invited me on a camp with the Australian team, and I trained for Vancouver, and I qualified, and I said “sure, why not?” And here I am!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you liked Vancouver?

MP: It was just an amazing experience. I came into Vancouver… I had quite a bad accident on a downhill course in Sestriere about seven weeks out from the games, and I fractured my pelvis. So, I was coming into Vancouver with an injury and I had only just recovered and was in quite a lot of pain. So it was an amazing experience and I was quite glad I did it, but wish for a different outcome.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So you are more optimistic about Sochi then?

MP: Yes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png One of the things about skiing is that it’s really expensive to do. How do you afford to ski given how expensive it is? And the fact that you need a guide who’s got his own expenses.

MP: I’m lucky enough to rank quite high in the world at the moment, so due to my ranking I’m awarded a certain amount of funding from the Australian Sports Commission, which covers my equipment and expenses, and the team picks up training costs and travel costs. All I’ve got to pay for is food and my own equipment, which is good, so I’ve managed to do it a budget.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What do you do outside of skiing, because you look kind of young? And you being not like, 30 or 40?

MP: I’m 24. I’m a student still.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Which university?

MP: University of Western Sydney. It’s my third university degree. I’ve completed two others prior to this one that I’m doing now.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Which degree? That you’re currently pursuing.

MP: Currently, physiotherapy.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Because of your experience with sport?

MP: Not really, except that my experience with sport certainly helped my interest and kind of fueled a direction to take in the physiotherapy field when I’m finished my degree, but more the medical side of injury, rehabilitation that got me interested in physiotherapy to begin with, burns rehabilitation and things like that.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You view yourself a full-time student as opposed to a full-time professional skier.

MP: Not really. I’m a student when uni’s on and when uni’s finished I’m a skier. The way that the term structure is in Australia it gives me all this time to ski. The uni starts at the end of February and goes to the beginning of June, and then we’ve got a six or seven week break until beginning or mid-August, and uni starts again then, and we go up to mid way through November, and then we’ve got a break again. Skiing fits in very nicely to that.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What’s the route for qualification to Sochi for you.

MP: Just maintaining my points. At the moment I’ve qualified. I just need to maintain my points, keep my points under, and then I qualify for the Australian team.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png So there’s a chance they could say no?

MP: If I’m skiing really badly. An injury.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Or if you’re like those Australian swimmers who had the guns…

MP: I’ve no sign of picking up a gun any time soon. Giving a blind girl a gun is not a good idea. (laughs)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It just seemed to us that Sochi was so far away on out hand, and yet seemed to be in everybody’s mind. It’s on their program. Sixteen months away?

MP: Yes, something like that. Sixteen. I think it’s been on our mind ever since Vancouver was over and done with. Next season, that was that, it was like: “what are our goals for the next four years?” And it was, “What are our goals for the next three years and two years?” And subsequently, next season, it’s Sochi. What we need to work on, what we need to accomplish for then, to be as ready as possible.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What is your favourite event of all the skiing ones? You like the downhill because it’s fast? Or you like Giant Slalom because it’s technically challenging? Or…

MP: I prefer the speed events. The downhill; frightens me but I do love the adrenalin. I’m always keen to do a downhill. But I think Super G might just be my favourite.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you do any other adrenalin junkie type stuff? Do you go bungee jumping? Jumping out of airplanes? Snowboarding?

MP: I don’t snowboard, no. I have jumped out of a plane. I thought that was fun but downhill has got more adrenalin than jumping out of a plane, I found. I do mixed martial arts and judo. That’s my other passion.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have you thought of qualifying for the Summer [Para]lympics in judo?

MP: As far as I know, Australia doesn’t have a judo program for the Paralympics. But, if I ever get good enough, then sure.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png They sent one.

MP: They’ve sent one, and he’s amazing. He beats up blind guys, able bodieds, quite constantly. I’ve seen video of him fight, and he’s very very good. If I ever reach that level, then sure, it’s something I’d look into it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Does judo help with your skiing?

MP: Yes, it increases my agility and balance, and strength, for sure.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I want to let you get back to changing. Thank you very much.



Sources

Wikinews
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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


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