Setting goals with Millie Knight – the youngest ever member of the ParalympicsGB team
Skier Millie Knight first took to the slopes as a six year old whilst on a family holiday in France. It was also around this time, the Kent teenager, began to lose her sight due to an eye infection. Fast forward thirteen years and Millie has just won two silver medals and a bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea – building on her joint at the World Championships in 2017, where she won gold, alongside her guide Brett Wild, a submariner in the Royal Navy who has been skiing with Millie since 2016.
Hello Millie, what are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?
I’m a massive fan of The Script! It will come as no surprise to those who know me that’s who I’m listening to! I’m not much of a reader, but I am watching the Harry Potter films at the moment!
What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?
I had two big crashes at the end of last season, leaving me with a bad concussion. Getting over those has been pretty tough but I’ve been working with my sports physiologist who is amazing. She gives me coping strategies and ways of dealing with fear and overcoming my worries of crashing, which has been a huge help.
What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
Good food, being with friends at home and laughing a lot!
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My mum, she’s amazing.
Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”
Smiling as much as you can.
What do you eat to stay healthy?
That’s a hard question as I eat lots of different things to keep healthy. I think it’s about having a good balance to you diet. When I’m training I eat lots of meat as my main meals and then nuts for pre and post work out snacks.
Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?
I start a typical week with a conditioning session, which involves cardio based activities in the gym. Tuesday is a lifting day working with weights, followed by a spin class in the evening. Wednesday is all about mobility – so doing things like Pilates. Thursday is lifting again. Friday is conditioning. Saturday is more lifting, and Sunday is my day off. My training sessions range from 45 mins to two hours.
On top of all that, every morning I do stretching and foam rolling and in the evenings, I do recovery – which would be anything to flush out my legs – so it could be on the spin bike or foam rolling again.
Here at The Mind Map we remember playing football and ‘tag’ – running around the playground everyday and loving it – can you share a similar memory?
When I was young I used to climb lots of trees in woods with my friends and built shelters and campfires and things like that.
What three songs lift your spirits?
Hall of Fame by The Script
Glory by Bastille
Car Radio by Twenty One Pilots
What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?
I have lots of motivational quotes I like but one of my favourites is: “You can either have good excuses or good results but not both.”
What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
Simply make sure you talk to people and chat with your friends.
You got As in you A-Levels and won gold in the 2017 IPC Downhill race, how did you juggle these and do so well in both?
It was very challenging because I was suffering with concussion at the time, which isn’t ideal whilst doing your A Levels! It was definitely pretty tough. A Levels themselves are hard enough without a concussion but my school were so fantastic with me. Ever since I started skiing my school let me off for competitions and training and when I got back from South Korea last March (where the crashes happened), they gave me one to one lessons until I had completed all of my coursework and revision, which massively helped me through it all.
When did you know that you wanted to pursue skiing competitively?
After I watched the 2012 Paralympics, where I was lucky enough to go to the opening ceremony, I was hooked. It was my first experience of competitive para sport and it was wonderful to see so many disabled athletes competing at an able body level. Skiing has always been a big passion and after the Paralympic Games I met a sit skier called Sean Rose at the ski show in London. Since that point I haven’t looked back. It’s amazing to think I’ll now be competing at my second Paralympic Games.
On your site you talk about your support network and sponsors, do you ever feel the pressure or do you use this as a motivator?
There is a lot of pressure but not as much pressure as I put on myself. I definitely try and use it as a motivator and I think a bit of pressure can be healthy for competition too.
What are you studying at University and why did you choose this course?
I’ll be studying psychology at Loughborough in September. It’s something I use daily in sport and is so versatile, it can be applied to lots of careers. Overall, it’s a subject that I find really fascinating.
Do you have any advice for our readers about keeping positive and setting goals?
Always having something to strive for is important. Setting achievable goals is something that works well for me, especially in sport.