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An adrenaline-filled Patrick Jensen beamed with delight after he and guide Amelia Hodgson kicked off Australia’s Beijing 2022 program with a lightning fast run in the Men’s Downhill Vision Impaired category at Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre on Saturday.

The B2 classified skier clocked a time of 1:23.71, 10.26 seconds behind gold medallist Johannes Aigner of Austria, to finish eighth.

Jensen, who will also compete in the Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G and Super Combined, had been apprehensive about his opening event, but came through with flying colours and loved every moment of it.

“That’s the most fun I’ve had in such a long time skiing,” he said.

“It’s been a really hard season and a hard couple of years and I couldn’t be happier with the result that we just got. I didn’t come in here with many expectations but I just gave it my best and I can’t give any more than that. I haven’t gone that fast in my whole life on skis.”

The 26-year-old from Newcastle, NSW, representing Australia at his second Games, was thankful to race in brilliant conditions.

“It couldn’t get any better for a downhill,” he said. “The set was fantastic. It was just the most fun, so fun to go that fast. I feel so much adrenaline. It’s just mad.

“This morning I woke up and just thought I can’t wait for today to be over, but the second I pushed out I felt alive. It’s unreal. It’s left me feeling comfortable and ready for the next few races.”

Jensen’s guide Hodgson was similarly pleased with their effort.

“It was so unreal. That was so mad. I think that’s probably the best we’ve ever skied together,” Hodgson said.


Four-time Paralympian and Australian Team flag bearer Mitch Gourley wasn’t quite as pleased with his outcome on day one.

Gourley came 20th in the Men’s Downhill Standing with a time of 1:22.21, 7.29 seconds behind winner Arthur Bauchet of France.

“I’m disappointed with my execution. That’s the main thing,” Gourley said. “But, to be honest, the key thing was the intent and I really wanted to come out here and make decisions I’m proud of and decisions that my teammates can be proud of.

“I think I went out there with that intent and, yeah, unfortunately it wasn’t my best skiing but you know, we’ve got four more races and more time to show what I can do.”

Gourley said he tripped up early in the course and was trying to make up time after that “and probably trying a little bit too hard. But that’s all right, these things happen.”

“We’ll put that one away, come back tomorrow and see what we can do in the Super-G.”

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The last of the Australians to compete for the day, Sam Tait, came unstuck early in his race in the Men’s Downhill Sitting and registered a DNF.

“I don’t know what happened,” Tait said. “I felt like I was skiing really well and, I don’t know, just hit some soft snow and came out and yeah, I don’t really know what to say. It is what it is.

“It’s ski racing and you crash out when you’re pushing the limits. I guess that’s what happened today. I know I’ll come back harder tomorrow and be able to ski to my limits again and get down to the finish.

“I’m pretty gutted. It hurts. But I’ve got three more races and hopefully I can do something in those races. Go home, rest and come back harder tomorrow.”

Jensen, Tait and Gourley will be back in action on Sunday in the Men’s Super G at Yanqing Alpine Centre.

Watch the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games live and free on 7plus from 4-13 March.

By: David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 5 March 2022