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In 2010, Jessica Gallagher created history at the Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, becoming the first Australian woman to ever win a Winter Paralympic Games medal. With guide Eric Bickerton, Jessica claimed bronze in the women’s vision impaired slalom, capping an amazing rise in the sport after joining the APC’s alpine skiing program in 2009. And to make her momentous Paralympic medal even more special, she won it on her 24th birthday.
In 2014, Jessica did it again – winning bronze at the Sochi Paralympics but this time in the giant slalom and with new guide, Christian Geiger. Her rapid rise as a Paralympic skier came after her track and field career was placed on hold following the 2008 Beijing Games. Having earned selection to the Australian Team in the 100m, long jump, discus and shot put, Jessica was ruled out the day before the Opening Ceremony after Paralympic classifiers declared her right eye was 0.1 of a degree too sighted to legally compete.
With a rare disease known as cone dystrophy which continues to deteriorate her sight, Jessica became eligible for both the Summer and Winter Paralympics and following Vancouver, she returned to athletics where she debuted at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, just 10 months after the Vancouver Games. Jessica won a silver medal in the long jump and a bronze medal in the javelin.
Hoping to become the first Australian Paralympian to win a medal at both the Summer and Winter Paralympics, Jessica competed in the long jump and javelin at the London 2012 Paralympics however she sustained a serious knee injury in the weeks leading up to the Games which hampered her results. She finished fifth in the long jump and sixth in the javelin.
Jessica loves watching her favourite sporting team the Essendon Bombers win, and spending time with her family and friends as well as travelling to new places. In 2010 she was named Female Australian Paralympian of the Year for her bronze medal performance in Vancouver.