newsCO.com.au–Melissa Perrine to carry Australian flag at Paralympics closing ceremony

March 18, 2018

@newsCOflash

2018-03-18 12:03:44

Alpine skier Melissa Perrine will carry the Australian flag at the Winter Paralympics closing ceremony after winning two bronze medals in PyeongChang.

Perrine has beaten out snowboarder Simon Patmore, who ended the country’s 16-year gold medal drought and also claimed a bronze.

The three-time Paralympian will share the honour with sighted guide Christian Geiger, who has completed another successful Games after leading Jess Gallagher to bronze in Sochi four years ago.

Melissa Perrine with her guide Christian Geiger competing in the Alpine Skiing Visually Impaired Women's Slalom event.

Melissa Perrine with her guide Christian Geiger competing in the Alpine Skiing Visually Impaired Women’s Slalom event.

AAP

“Apparently I’ve got to figure out a way to wave a flag and not fall over. I’m glad Chris will come with me as a guide,” said Perrine, who has congenital vision loss.

“I’m incredibly proud to lead this team out tonight.

“I feel Simi (Patmore) would have been an equally amazing choice. He’s had an amazing Games. He’s an amazing athlete. I would have been proud to walk out behind him as well.

“There’s a bunch of awesome athletes and awesome competitors and to be considered for this is an honour.”

Perrine and Geiger wrapped up their campaign with a fourth in the slalom on Sunday ahead of the ceremony in the evening.

She was fifth and more than three seconds off the pace after a disappointing first run but recorded the second-fastest second run to finish 1.68 seconds out of the medals.

The 30-year-old has bounced back from a disappointing Sochi campaign to win half of Australia’s medals in PyeongChang.

Four years ago, she left the Games with a fourth, three DNFs and a controversial disqualification for duct-taping an illegal sun visor to her helmet.

She reached the podium in super-combined and giant slalom last week, after two top-fives in downhill and super-G to begin these Games.

“After Sochi, of course there was a little bit of doubt,” Perrie said.

“But I had faith in the fact that we’ve worked hard and I was in a good place and the skiing was better than four years ago.”

Australia has wrapped up its most successful Games since Salt Lake City in 2002 when it claimed six gold medals, all in alpine skiing before the number of classifications were reduced.

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