From Psychology to the Paralympics: Millie Knight

Millie Knight is an ex-Kent Sport Scholar and Psychology graduate. She has been competing since the age of 15, winning several world titles and Skiing for Great Britain in the 2014 and 2021 Para-Olympics! Read about how her degree has helped her prepare for her career.

What did you study at Kent, when did you graduate and what have you been up to since graduation?

I studied psychology at Kent and left in 2021. I have been fairly busy since then, with World Championships, World Cups and a Paralympic Games but taking this year away from skiing has allowed me to return to Kent Sport as a Sports Massage Therapist.

What are your fondest memories of studying at Kent and aside from getting your degree what skills did you learn whilst at university that have helped you in later life?

I have so many fond memories of studying at Kent, from the early morning rowing sessions down at the lake, to roller discos and of course, the amazing friends I made. University really taught me how to manage my time effectively, learning how to prioritise things whilst also understanding when I needed help and being able to ask for that help.

“There are so many brilliant opportunities at Kent but it’s up to you to go and seize those opportunities, don’t let the three years pass you by, they go so quickly!”

Your skiing journey is epic concluding in medals at the Winter Paralympics! Can you comment on the key milestones that helped you progress to representing and winning for Team GB?

At the age of 12, joining the GB team was an incredibly surreal experience for me. Being referred to as an ‘athlete’ still felt like a shock, as it was a label, I never imagined I would have at such a young age. My first international medal was in 2012 with my mum as my ski guide.

I was selected for Sochi 2014 as Britons youngest Winter Paralympian on my 15th and carrying the flag at the opening ceremony was beyond surreal, then coming 5th in both my events was an invaluable experience. I won my first silver and bronze world championship and world cup gold medals in 2015. Partnered with my guide Brett in 2016 and competed in my first Downhill and Super-G events.

2017 saw us win our first 4 world championship medals and my first major crash. After 6 months of horrible rehab from concussion, I was selected for my second Paralympics in 2018 where we won 2 silver and a bronze medal. The pre-paralympic rushed rehab meant that I had to dedicate more time to fully recovering, post-Games. A couple of World Cups and Europa Cups then Covid hit.

Yes, my fourth concussion happened in 2021 which was a real setback, physically and mentally. 2022 was my third World Championships where we added a gold and bronze to the collection and for the first time received prize money (a big moment for the sport). We won our third overall world cup title before winning bronze in the Downhill at the 2022 Winter Paralympics.

Your sporting career and achievements are formidable; can you pick your highest point or proudest moment?

It’s hard to say which is my proudest moment, every result has unique aspects, from returning from injury and a horrible crash to win my first Paralympic medal in 2018, to becoming GB’s first Snowsport World Champion (para or able-bodied) but I have to say receiving my Honorary Doctorate in 2017 before getting my A-Level results was definitely an incredible moment.

‘Make the most of it, especially as a Sports Scholar, you have access to such incredible resources that you wouldn’t ordinarily get.

Read the full interview here.