Royal Navy Submariner Brett Wild retires from Paralympic sport

Following the announcement of Royal Navy Submariner AB Brett Wild retiring from Paralympic sport, we take a look back over Brett's career as a Paralympic Alpine Ski Guide to Paralympian Millie Knight whilst serving in the Royal Navy.

Submariner Able Rate Brett Wild was invited to a trial to guide visually impaired Paralympic Alpine Ski Racer Millie Knight in February 2016. The trial went fantastically well and he was invited by the British Paralympic team to attend the World Cup finals in Aspen to guide Millie Knight. Permission was granted for Brett to travel to America where the pair won three gold World Cup medals, one silver and a bronze and this success led to Millie seeking Brett as her full-time guide as she set her sights on the 2018 Pyeonchang Paralympic Games.

Elite athlete status allowed Brett to commit fully to the strict Paralympic programme training, and in their first season (2017) they won most World Cup races, becoming Great Britain’s first ever Snow sport World Champions in Tarvisio, Italy. Travelling to Pyeonchang for the Paralympic test event before the games, Millie had her second crash of the season resulting in a serious concussion and unable to ski for six months. Her injury could not have come at a worse time and this seriously impacted her preparation for the Paralympics. Returning was extremely challenging, having to overcome fear and she worked closely with her Sport Psychologist and her Guide. Together, they returned to competitive ways securing a bronze medal in the final races of the season before travelling to South Korea.

 

The Paralympics was an experience for Brett like no other. From the age of 10 when Brett first began to ski race at Glasgow Ski Centre he had dreamed of racing in the Olympics. To be able to compete in the Paralympics representing not only Great Britain but also the Royal Navy was one of his proudest achievements to date. During the Paralympic games, the found their form, winning two silver medals and one bronze. With such success, Millie requested Brett remained her guide for a further four years with aims to reach Beijing in 2022, an aspiration the Royal Navy fully supported.

Strong start and great results at the World Cup in 2019, but Millie suffered another concussion midway through the season and the pair missed the World Championships before the worldwide pandemic hit, known as COVID-19. They used the time during lockdown to focus on fitness and attempted to be as ready for the opportunity to compete again. In July 2020, they were granted an exemption to travel by the government to train abroad, during which period Millie sustained her 4th major concussion. Both Brett and Millie believe this was the hardest concussion to return from as Millie lost more of her vision as an impact of the injury.

A year before Beijing, and both were desperate to get back on snow, but injuries took their toil and time to recover. Once back together, they prepared for Beijing. The global pandemic once again impacted their preparations but nevertheless the pair went on to over perform at the World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway winning Gold, where they went on to pick up the Super-G overall crystal globe for the season, crowning them World Champions!

 

Beijing 2022 was a Paralympic Games like no other, dictated to support the further spread of COVID-19. Nevertheless, the duo did not forsake winning Great Britain’s first medal of the Paralympic Games, securing Bronze on day one - an award which Millie felt was the hardest fought and the most special award to date. The pair went onto narrowly miss the podium in the next two races finishing fourth in both. Not the success they had hoped, but still an amazing level of success for the duo.

After 7 years intensely training and competing with Millie Knight, Brett Wild has announced his retirement from Paralympic sport. Alongside his quest to support Millie to compete at the highest level, Brett had passed his Royal Navy Admiralty Interview Board (AIB) and was shortly after, selected to join Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) as an Officer in May 2022.

Brett said “this once in a lifetime opportunity would never have been possible without the Royal Navy’s support throughout. The elite athlete programme has allowed me to train and compete with Millie full time at the highest levels possible.”

“In Ski racing you have to receive a medal from World Championships or Paralympics to receive funding from the National Lottery. The first year I was guiding Millie I was funded by the RNRMC as well as the Royal Navy elite sports fund. I cannot thank everyone who has supported me and helped me on this journey.”

“The Royal Navy’s Elite Athlete programme is fantastic and I’ve benefitted massively from this. I will cherish the memories and achievements I have gained over the last six years for the rest of my life.”

“I feel like the skills I have developed training and competing at the highest level of International Sport will transfer back into my Officer career in the Royal Navy.”

The Royal Navy’s Elite Athlete programme is fantastic and I’ve benefitted massively from this. I will cherish the memories and achievements I have gained over the last six years for the rest of my life.

Able Rate Brett Wild