Australia’s alpine skiing superstar Melissa Perrine rounded off the country’s most successful winter games in 16 years as she carried the Australian flag into the closing ceremony at PyeongChang.
You might think that since Australia has such hot climate, their winter Paralympians would be at a distinct disadvantage. However, the 15 Paralympians who made up the Aussie team brought back four medals - the most since 2002 -finishing in 15th place in total.
This amazing accomplishment comes just months after the update on the WA NDIS, which will see Western Australia become part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which will bring the whole of Australia into line, something which has many of Australia’s disabled worrying about their continuity of care and following a victory that will see the first employee-led mutual - the very same NDIS take over the care of children who are disabled or suffering from developmental delays. This is just more good news for Australia’s disabled population.
Melissa Perrine is a due bronze medalist after her recent Alpine skiing win, and it was a big honor for her to be able to carry the flag because her colleague, the snowboarder Simon Patmore was the one to end the country’s 16-year gold medal shortage, which he complemented with a bronze medal too.
Perrine has competed in three Paralympic games, and she shared flag duty with her sighted guide Christian Geiger, who was with her every step of the way. Perrine told the crowds at the closing ceremony that she was incredibly proud of being given the duty, and was even graceful enough to express her view that Simon Patmore, who she affectionately refers to as ‘Simi’ should have been the one to do the honors, referring to him as an amazing athlete who she would have been honored to walk out behind.Perrine also paid tribute to other ‘awesome’ athletes who she was surrounded by, who she said made her honor of carrying the flag out all the more special.
Perrine found herself on the podium after defeating the giant slalom and obtaining her first Paralympic medal in the second week of the games.
There last time that the Australian team did this well was in 2002 when the Paralympic games were held in Salt Lake City. Back then, they took six gold medals, all of which were won in alpine skiing events. Of course, there were more classifications then, and if things had been the same now as they were back then, there is every chance that they would have done even better.PyeongChang spent over $13 billion on what was a very successful Olympic and Paralympic games, which really did go out of its way to put its Paralympians in the spotlight, playing host to no less than 567 athletes with disabilities, who competed in a total of 80 events.
The victors of the Paralympic games were the United States, who topped the medal tables, with the clean Russian athletes’’ team, known as The Neutral Paralympic Athletes, coming in second and the Canadians making up the top three.The next Paralympics will be held in Tokyo in 2020 when perhaps Australia’s athletes will do even better.