Millie Knight is a woman full of ambition. Becoming visually impaired at a young age, she knows no boundaries when it comes to excelling on the slopes.
Just before Christmas, Millie and her guide Brett Wild took home seven out of eight Gold medals at a World Cup in Mammoth, California. Feeling on top her game, she went into 2020 refreshed and ready to ski. Unfortunately, on her way to Gatwick airport, she was involved in a rear-end collision and suffered severe whiplash. Being who Millie is, she powered through and was still able to make her flight to Switzerland – ready for the World Cup.
Despite her injuries, Millie skied for six days straight even though she was experiencing throbbing headaches and pain in her neck. Due to illness, Millie’s guide wasn’t able to attend her first race so her reserve guide, Katie, came out. They had one day of skiing then raced the next day.
“By the second run, my neck had totally seized up and I was experiencing terrible shooting pains down my arm, but still placed fourth. My neck was extremely sore, so I asked to see a physio the moment I finished racing. As soon as the physio took one look at me, I was rushed to hospital with a suspected broken neck.”
Luckily, Millie was okay although she had to lay in a neck-brace for eight hours before the hospital was able to release her.
Off to Slovenia, Millie was ready for her next challenge – ‘GS’ aka Giant Slalom. ‘GS’ is the second slowest slope with top speeds of 70km/h – just a normal day in Millie’s life. By this point, her guide Brett was well enough to ski with her. Millie received Bronze, Gold and Silver respectively for her races.
“Our first race, we won Bronze, which is brilliant and we were chuffed to bits. The second day we won Gold and the third day we won Silver – completing the set. It was an incredible experience!”
The fun doesn’t stop there. Millie’s next move is to do a week’s training in Austria, then take part in the British National Championships in France with her and her guide having high ambitions to win. After that, she’s off to Norway for the next World Cup and finally Sweden for the World Cup Finals. We have no doubt that Millie will do incredible things in the upcoming weeks. All of this competition is helping Millie achieve the ultimate goal of partaking in the 2022 Winter Paralympics.
Juggling studies with sport
Obviously Millie’s sporting endeavours could take quite a big toll on her university studies. However, Millie has found the University’s support and flexibility with her sporting career beyond helpful. When’s she’s on the slopes, the University has a ‘note taker’ that attends Millie’s lectures and keeps her abreast of what’s going on in her courses. This has massively helped Millie continue to achieve her medals.
“I have a lot of support and the University is very flexible with letting me have the time off. They move my deadlines to when I’m actually here which has been extremely helpful so I’m able to focus on skiing then be able to do the work when I’m back.”
Sports Scholarship programme
Millie is part of the Sports Scholarship programme and has reaped the benefit of the strength and training sessions, the Physiotherapy Clinic as well as being able to train whenever it suits her.
“The Sports Scholarship programme is so good. I’m loving all the support I receive from the whole team during my Strength and Conditioning sessions. Especially after my accident, it was wonderful to have the availability of Vicky in the Physiotherapy Clinic with her quality expertise.”
Of course, accomplishments don’t stop there. Millie went into university with an open mind and has tried to get involved in everything she had time for. Despite her Skiing Coach’s fears, Millie has enlisted in not only one, but two University of Kent sports clubs: UKC Rowing and UKC Karate. It works out that Millie is back for a short break so she can compete in an upcoming BUCS Karate National in Kata and Kumite. Her only hope is that she has a good time.
Kent Sport congratulates Millie for her successes and is proud to have her as part of the team. Find out more about the Kent Sport scholarship programme and for more information about Millie, see her profile. If you would like to get active at Kent like Millie but don’t know where to start, come and chat with our friendly reception team or pick up a copy of Active Kent from the Sport Centre.