Ex-soldier and world blind downhill speed skiing record?

#1
Nails or what! :omg:

I overheard a snippet about this on TV this morning. They said someone was aiming to break the world blind downhill skiing speed record.

What the fcuk!!!

I have never skied. And the idea of bombing downhill at over 100 mph scares me sh1tless. Let alone if you can't see where you're going. :omfg:

So I did a Google search; I couldn't find anything about someone currently aiming to break the record. But, it seems, it must be Kevin Alderton.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/6538527.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/4909602.stm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbEO-t9TIO0&feature=user

http://www.nosightnofear.com/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/kent/content/articles/2007/08/15/kevin_alderton_feature.shtml

Amazing bloke ......... and some nice "squaddie" humour here:

After a vicious attack in London left Dartford man, Kevin Alderton almost totally blind he was determined not to give up. He is now the fastest blind skier in the world, reaching speeds of 100mph.
Kevin Alderton is a man with an incredible story. In 1998 he was at the peak of his physical abilities, a member of the British Army and enjoying life to the full. In one evening all this changed. After leaving a pub in Islington he and a friend saw a girl being assaulted by two men in a doorway. Without thinking twice they rushed over to protect her, eventually getting her out of harm’s way.

A few minutes later a huge crowd emerged from the pub to come to the aid, not of them, but to the attackers. They were outnumbered and Kevin was soon on the floor having his whole body beaten while someone continuously thrust their fingers into his eyes. They were lucky to get out alive but the next day he realised that his sight wasn’t the same and, after one sneeze, he lost his sight altogether.
After seven months of intense work to try to repair Kevin’s eyesight he eventually had to accept that he would have to live with 4% vision for the rest of his life. Today he is the first British skier ever to gain two world records and a role model to disabled sportsmen and women around the world.
“It’s been a really long and hard journey in all honesty. The initial shock of realising that I wasn’t going to see again and that my life was never going to be the same was a major issue for me to overcome. I went from a perfectly able serving soldier, enjoying life and doing the usual sort of lad stuff to suddenly being without self-confidence, having no job prospects and no self-esteem - to the point where I had no motivation to carry on my life.
“I was depressed and drank myself to oblivion pretty much for three years solid because that was the only thing I saw that I could still do. Eventually my life started to fall apart because the drink had begun to take over and then one day I woke up and thought ‘I just can’t do this anymore’.”

It was around this time, in 2002, when completely by chance Kevin was put in touch with Billy Baxter, the fastest blind motorcyclist in the world.
“It’s a bit of a funny story but my brother’s friend went to fit a carpet for this guy who had left the army a couple of years before being blinded and he was saying how much his life had changed since joining an association called St Dunstan’s.
“He passed his number onto my brother’s mate and said that I should call him. To start with I thought I’m not going to talk to a complete stranger about my life – what does he know? But when I decided to change things I gave him a call and we must have been on the phone for about five hours because it turned out we’d served together in Northern Ireland and we knew some of the same people. All of a sudden there was this big camaraderie thing there and then I realised that it was the camaraderie and the togetherness that I really missed from the army, and so I thought that maybe I can find it again.”
"It's been a tough journey but a great one and hopefully what I've done has helped change other people's lives and perceptions too."
Kevin Alderton
Encouraged by Billy, Kevin decided to join St Dunstan’s, an association that helps ex-servicemen and women who have lost their sight to come to terms with it and regain their independence. It was through them that Kevin was able to go on a ski trip to Canazei in Italy and have another go at the sport he loved.
“When I lost my sight I never thought I’d ski again. I had skied since I was 8 years old and while I was in the army I qualified as a military ski instructor and used to race for my division. However at 22 years old you just enjoy the night out before too much so while most people were warming up in the starting area, I’d be throwing up! It’s all about commitment and maybe if I’d applied myself as much then as I do now then who knows what could have happened.”
It was in Italy that the idea of ‘blind speed skiing’ emerged. “Billy and I were trying to come up with some ideas to get me into the world record books and it basically went from everything from blind crocheting to blind tiddlywinks.
“Then, half way through the night one of the lads made a comment that I was skiing way too fast and that I looked pretty dangerous out there. Billy and I just looked at each other and knew it – ‘speed skiing’. So I climbed onto the bar and announced that I was going to set the world’s first-ever blind speed-skiing record next year in Les Arcs in France. Everyone at the time was like, “Get off the bar, go to bed!” but the next day I started training. I found myself a guide in the shape of Norman Clarke who’s currently on the GB speed skiing team. Twelve months later we had a new world record.

“What happens is I ski with my guide, Norman, and he tells me where to race from on the track - where he sees as the fastest and safest line for me to take. Then through the communications system that sits snugly inside my helmet, he tells me to go left or right.”
While Kevin makes it sound so simple, going at speeds of 100mph must be pretty terrifying. “It is scary, without a doubt but I just have to keep practicing my breaking manoeuvres.” And does he ever fall over? “I never talk about falling over!” He laughs, “When I do it’s very spectacular; it’s as if someone’s just thrown a hand grenade into a kit bag; all my stuff goes everywhere!”
Kevin’s mission is far from over. Not only does he spend lots of his time doing charity work for children with disabilities but he is also aiming for Paralympic Qualification in Canada in 2010. “I’ve got some tough training ahead of me. I’ll also be having another crack at beating my world record in Les Arcs in April. I’d really like to reach 105mph. The current able-bodied record is 156mph so I’m only 55 mph behind him at the moment!”

While many have labelled Kevin ‘Cannonball’ Alderton mad for what he does, he is undeniably one of the strongest and bravest men in Kent, if not the country. It is his determination to succeed that has helped him overcome what could have been the end of him. Instead it was the beginning. “In a lot of ways I’ve actually done a lot more things since I’ve lost my sight than when I was able bodied. I’ve even started playing golf and beat a lot of my mates now but I do lose a lot of balls!
“It’s been a tough journey but a great one and hopefully what I’ve done has helped change other people’s lives and perceptions too. For me, it’s just a case of taking up every opportunity and hopefully kick the able-bodied community into touch on the way!”
I am speechless and so full of admiration.

I suppose this is who they were talking about on TV?
Anyone confirm whether this chap is aiming to break his record?
 
#2
It was in Italy that the idea of ‘blind speed skiing’ emerged. “Billy and I were trying to come up with some ideas to get me into the world record books and it basically went from everything from blind crocheting to blind tiddlywinks.
“Then, half way through the night one of the lads made a comment that I was skiing way too fast and that I looked pretty dangerous out there. Billy and I just looked at each other and knew it – ‘speed skiing’. So I climbed onto the bar and announced that I was going to set the world’s first-ever blind speed-skiing record next year in Les Arcs in France. Everyone at the time was like, “Get off the bar, go to bed!” but the next day I started training. I found myself a guide in the shape of Norman Clarke who’s currently on the GB speed skiing team. Twelve months later we had a new world record.
Quality! :D
 
#3
Aaaaaahhhhh! That's why this was mentioned on BBC TV last Sunday. They were saying what was on this week's programme.

He's on "Sunday Life" on BBC 1 at 10.00 am today.

Sunday Life
Sun 25 May, 10:00 am - 11:00 am 60mins

Louise Minchin and Colin Jackson with more inspiring features and discussion, including the amazing story of a former soldier who is attempting to set a new world downhill skiing record for a blind person.
 
#4
Respect to the man.

Skiing is one sport I never got into. Doing what he has done, sighted, would scare the willies out of me.
 
#5
Some of the guys at St Dunstans have done some mental things, that I wouldn't want to do as a fully sighted person. They are an inspiration in my books.
 
#7
There was a patient from there, a few years ago, who was going for the blind world speed record on a motorbike!!! He had a sighted person on a bike behind him who was giving him steering directions.

CLICKY LINKY THING


Fcukin NAILS!!!! good on that man
 
#8
I wonder if his mate, Billy, will be on the TV programme. :D

It was around this time, in 2002, when completely by chance Kevin was put in touch with Billy Baxter, the fastest blind motorcyclist in the world.
When they met, they found they'd served in Norn Iron together.

Squaddies doing what they do best. :lol:

It's on telly in a minute.
 
#10
My mate did a speed test on a snowboard (non blind) They have special ramps for measuing speed, so if someone points him in the right direction he should be out of the way of other potential skiers and boarders, trees and rocks,

still very scary and respect to the man I hope he gets it.
 
#11
MartinClarke said:
still very scary and respect to the man I hope he gets it.
My understanding is that he holds the world record. That he decided to create a world record for BLIND downhill speed skiing. It might be that he is the only person in the world that he is competing against? :roll:

That "sighted" record is around 160 mph.

Kevin has exceeded 100 mph and seems to be aiming for 105 mph.
 
#12
St Dunstans when in basic training we got briefed about these guys, they do an awesome job and we all thought that it was for the older generation, another vital support network that the government doesn't support. Got to see the guys there are pushing the boat out! Well done!
 
#13
Cow said:
St Dunstans when in basic training we got briefed about these guys, they do an awesome job and we all thought that it was for the older generation, another vital support network that the government doesn't support. Got to see the guys there are pushing the boat out! Well done!
Yep. The stereotypical image of St. Dunstans is this: (my bold)

bovvy said:
It was in Italy that the idea of ‘blind speed skiing’ emerged. “Billy and I were trying to come up with some ideas to get me into the world record books and it basically went from everything from blind crocheting to blind tiddlywinks.
“Then, half way through the night one of the lads made a comment that I was skiing way too fast and that I looked pretty dangerous out there. Billy and I just looked at each other and knew it – ‘speed skiing’. So I climbed onto the bar and announced that I was going to set the world’s first-ever blind speed-skiing record next year in Les Arcs in France. Everyone at the time was like, “Get off the bar, go to bed!” but the next day I started training. I found myself a guide in the shape of Norman Clarke who’s currently on the GB speed skiing team. Twelve months later we had a new world record.
 
#14
I noticed this old thread of mine earlier today and scanned through bits of it. I was wondering if Kevin Alderton would be competing in 2010 paralympics in Vancouver? However, my internet search didn't bring up anything.

On a different, but not unrelated, subject, I just heard mention of St. Dunstan's at Ovingdean, Brighton on BBC south news. I cannot be sure whether they said it WAS closing or was in danger of closing. This is an article from a few days ago:

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/4928...ldiers_could_have_to_sack_staff_to_cut_costs/

One of the last surviving First World War veterans, Henry Allingham, who died last year at the age of 113, spent the last years of his life at St Dunstan’s in Ovingdean.
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#15
I've watched a couple of downhill speed skiing competitions, far from being at a disadvantage, I would say being blind could be a benefit - especially as you cannot see how daft you look wearing a lycra body suit and a Darth Vader helmet :D

Well done to anyone who gives something like that a go rather than accept a handicap..
 

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