Shona Brownlee hitting all the right notes on Paralympics debut

Music graduate Shona Brownlee says safely navigating her debut Paralympic run can provide the perfect platform for becoming a red-hot table-topping hit in the Winter Games in Beijing.

Shona Brownlee of Great Britain competes in the Para Alpine Skiing Women's Super-G Sitting during day two of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics
Shona Brownlee of Great Britain competes in the Para Alpine Skiing Women's Super-G Sitting during day two of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics

Brownlee, from Livingston in West Lothian, finished sixth in Sunday’s sitting Super-G event after capping a rapid rise to the Chinese capital.

The 41-year-old first strapped on a pair of skis in 2019 after suffering a military injury seven years earlier and also boasts a Masters degree in Music.

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The Scot has been unable to take her beloved French horn with her to Beijing but hopes a maiden taste of the Paralympic big time can help her hit all the right notes later this week.

Brownlee, who goes again in the Super Combined event on Monday, said: “It’s amazing to be here.

“This time last year I was so far from even qualifying, so the fact that I’m here and finished the race is incredible.

“I’ve not really got any expectations for the rest of the week - it’s my first Paralympic Games and I’m just pleased to be here.

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“If I can put down some solid, consistent performances I’ve got a marker and something to work on.

“I feel like this is just the start and I can get better form here.”

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Brownlee previously worked as a musician for the Royal Air Force and added: “Music is what I grew up with and is my career.

“I play the French horn and piano. It’s tough when we’re away as I can’t normally travel with my French horn, but it’s nice when I’m back and can sit in with the band – it feels like normality.

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“But when I’m at the top at the start gate I like it to be quiet – music can be distracting as I concentrate on it too much, so I quite like that focus.”

Brownlee enjoyed a searing World Championship debut in Lillehammer as a Super-G silver and giant slalom bronze propelled her into the Paralympic selection picture.

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And two months later her places at the Games was secure, finishing just over 20 seconds off the podium at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre.

Brownlee will now focus on the Super Combined, slalom and giant slalom events and added: “The atmosphere here has been great.

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“It’s completely surprising that I’m even here - it’s really only been the last two years that I’ve got into skiing seriously.

“I started racing seriously and I thought the timeframe was too short – it felt like a pipe dream and I can’t actually believe I’m here.”

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