Royal Navy submariner heads for second Winter Paralympics

Topic: Fighting armsSubmarine Service Storyline: Sports

Royal Navy submariner Brett Wild and visually-impaired skier Millie Knight have shown they can ‘fight for gold’ as they look to rebound from injury setbacks at the Winter Paralympics in China.

The duo – Brett acts as Millie’s guide on the slopes – returned from PyeongChang four years ago with three medals to their names.

They head to Beijing with the 25-strong GB squad for the 2022 games in good form and are determined to enjoy the experience – but cautious about their prospects of success as they look to put several injuries behind them.

 “Millie and I are approaching these games slightly differently to PyeongChang. Our main goal this time is to ski our best and Millie wants to smile crossing the line knowing she gave it her all,” said Brett, who is based at the Scottish Institute of Sport in Glasgow.

“Millie has suffered three major concussions since the 2018 games so there is a lot more fear than there was before.

“We've worked with lots of different sport psychologists to overcome these fears. It's been hard but I believe that the hard times only make us stronger as a team.”

Brett himself suffered a knee injury which required extensive treatment and rehab, while Millie’s concussions saw her out for four months. This meant preparations for the games – which were also interrupted by Covid-19 – didn’t properly get underway on the slopes until October.

It meant their season coming into Beijing didn’t start go to plan with only one month’s training together prior to World Cup races in December.

Despite that, Brett and Millie picked up a bronze medal at their first World Cup of the season in Austria, before being crowned overall Super G Crystal Globe winners after victory in Sweden.

They then topped that by becoming World Champions in the Super Combined race in Lillehammer, Norway, in January.

“We didn't expect much from the races but did exceptionally well given the circumstances,” said Brett.  “We were delighted to peak at such a great time and hope we can take this confidence into the games. 

“We don't expect too much, however winning the World Championships Super Combined in January shows we have the ability to be fighting for the gold medals.”

Brett, from Glasgow, has been skiing since he was three years old and began racing when he was just seven, he has also raced for the Navy and Combined services team.

Millie, who is heading to her third Paralympics, and Brett have been skiing together since February 2016. Brett has elite athlete status, meaning he is able to put his military work on hold to pursue his ski guide career. 

“It feels amazing to be given this opportunity for a second time,” Brett said. “I wouldn't be able to commit to the demanding programme Millie and I endure without the Royal Navy's fantastic support.

“I hope I can make the Royal Navy proud after everything they have given me. I feel privileged to get to represent both the Royal Navy and Great Britain at these Paralympic Games.”

Millie added: “Being selected for my third Paralympic Games is an incredible feeling, to be going with Brett as my guide and best friend is special.

“I would like to thank the Royal Navy for allowing us to train together full time and its continued support. I'm excited to see what we can achieve.”

The Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games take place from March 4 to 13 and are expected to be the biggest ever featuring an estimated 600 athletes from more than 50 countries.