Sean Rose-Alpine Skiing Downhill

Hometown: Middlesborough, England
Sport: Alpine skiing
Event: Slalom
Games: Turin 2006 Vancouver 2010

Sean Rose is a former World Cup gold medalist who represented ParalympicsGB at the Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in the sport of Alpine Skiing. He is one of ParalympicGB's highest achieving winter athletes of recent years.

Sean has always been a sports enthusiast. At an early age he was a county standard Badminton player, cross country runner, North East Champion Gymnast and World Class BMX racer during his school years. However, on 25th February 2000 Sean's life changed forever. A simple fall whilst instructing a group of RAF Pilots to ski on the slopes of Garmisch, Bavaria caused spinal cord damage and paralysis below the waist. Undeterred by the accident, Sean spent his rehabilitation period rebuilding his muscles and identifying disabled sports that he would be interested in.

A trip with The BackUp Trust to Winter Park, Colorado got Sean back on the slopes and into a Sit Ski where he joined in a local race. He soon became hooked!

Having competed in two Paralympic Winter Games, Sean is now retired. However, he was recently appointed as ParalympicsGB's ambassador sharing his advice and experience with athletes during ParalympicsGB's most successful Games in Sochi.

The following questions were prepared by St Johns CoE School, Sheffield to support Sean with his Athlete of the Month appearance.

Do you wish you competed at Sochi to make it three games in a row?

It would have been great to compete in Sochi and make it three games, but I know how much hard work and commitment is needed to be racing at this level and I was already thinking about my next challenge in life. Being out in Sochi, seeing the course and all my old friends and rivals was great, but looking at the condition of the course I was glad to be sat at the finish and just talking about it on Channel 4.

How old were you when you first learnt to ski and where did you do it?

12 years old - school trip to France. Fell in love with being in the mountains.

How fast have you been on skis? Does skiing ever scare you?

80mph - Yes, but that's why I like it. I love that feeling when you start going so fast every part of your body is telling you to slow down. It takes every ounce of physical fitness and technical skill to stay focused and commit to going that fast. To be able to switch off all the negative bits that creep in your head and be confident in your own ability takes lot of mental preparation.

Where do you keep your world cup medal?

It's in my office at home, but I do take it with me and show it off at some of the school talks I give.

Do you hold any world records?

Not officially, but I've got the seated Snowkite distance and speed records - as there's not many that do it. I still have the British WaterSki Slalom and Trick record. But, we're making plans to kite buggy across the Gobi desert which would be a World Record.

Did you share any words of motivation to ParalympicsGB athletes?

I hope so! Each athlete is different, there was a mix of supporting words, an ear to listen, technical advice and getting them fired up - that was all mixed with a whole lot of praise after each race to give them confidence before the next one.

Did you manage to cross the Vatnajokul Ice Cap in April?

No! I was very disappointed to fall ill on the 4th day and just over 60kms into the trip. My condition got worse overnight and we needed to call the rescue services to come and get me off the glacier. I spent a few days in hospital to recover. We have unfinished business with the Vatnajoikull and will be going back to try to complete the challenge.

Do you have a favourite Paralympic Winter Sport which you like to watch?

Slalom Skiing - I tried so hard to perfect the technique and found it the most difficult and frustrating of all the disciplines. To watch the people that are Slalom specialists who do it so well is incredible.

What meant that Vancouver would be your last Games?

I dreamed of being the Best in the World and set myself that goal. It was a fantastic journey to try reach it and many high and lows along the way. The decision to make Vancouver my last games was difficult but I thought in my heart I'd achieved the goals I set even though I don't have the Paralympic medal to prove it, but came so close. Also, I spent a lot of time away from home, my wife and two young children and I felt it wasn't fair on them to continue.

How did you feel when you stood on the start line in Turin in 2006?

Turin was amazing. To enter the opening ceremony stadium wearing my ParalympicsGB uniform was a moment I'll never forget, then to line up and race against the best in the world on a perfect course was incredible. In the starting gate, I was the underdog, so there was no pressure on me to perform. So I just focused on my race and went for it.

Of all your medals and achievements which is the most important to you and why?

World Cup Gold Downhill - Sestriere 2010. It was the first time a British Alpine Ski racer had won a World Cup Gold medal and to sit on the podium that night with the National Anthem playing is giving me goosebumps just thinking about it. Amazing!