Mick Brennan believes he is proving to his coaches that he can control his urge for high speed at the Winter Paralympics after carefully navigating a tricky slalom to remain in contention in the super combined.
The 34-year-old seated skier, fresh from his top-ten finish in the men’s super-G on Sunday, had to change his approach to the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre course after 15 of the 26 competitors failed to finish. An alteration to his seated ski’s suspension, in preparation for the bumpy run, meant Brennan was only skiing at half of his potential ability – the former solider coming down in a time of 1:14.85 minutes.
But a ninth-place position at the halfway point with the rescheduled super-G section to come on Friday – weather had made no skiing possible in the morning in Sochi – Bircotes ace Brennan is confident things may go his way.
“I am happy with my position but a little deflated that I had to change tactics at the top,” he said. “With people obviously crashing out, the coach was on course and he was giving me regular updates.
“The suspension of some of the top guys was kicking them up so I had to change my suspension to slow it down a little bit and that meant I was skiing a lot slower than I normally would. He told me not to do anything stupid so basically I skied it at like 40 per-cent just to get down because my goals for the Games is to get good, solid top-ten finishes.
“I executed the plan and I’ve had one go at it now so I know I am capable of skiing these conditions and courses so I will be going at it a little harder next time.”
“All I can do is try my best and if people crash out in front of me so be it but I am proving to myself and to the coaching staff that I can do what I am told.
“Normally I may go hell for leather and be crashing out in every race. It’s different to what I am used to but I am happy with that.”
Brennan came into his debut Winter Paralympics playing catch up with the rest of the seated ski field after nine months out this season through injury.
But, patience is also proving to be one of his characteristics, as he believes a solid showing at Sochi 2014 could propel him onto bigger things in four years time.
“I always want to go faster and it has been really hard but I have only just come back from injury and I need to think about the next four-year cycle,” he said.
“It’s good to get some confidence in and get used to the atmosphere of the crowd. I know on my day I can compete with any of these guys.
“I have beaten a lot of them, they’ve all been training hard while I’ve been out injured but I want to go home safe.”
Sainsbury’s is a proud long-term supporter of the British Paralympic Association and a champion of inclusive sport for all. For more information on Sainsbury’s commitment to inclusive sport visit: www.Sainsburys.co.uk/activekids