Before Pontypridd-based Paralympic skier Chris Lloyd flies out to the Winter Paralympic Games in South Korea, Carl Marsh speaks to him about his journey since the rally accident that left him paralysed.
You’ve been on one hell of a journey since the crash, and your recovery afterwards. While in hospital, the consultants said you would never walk again – was this a key motivational moment?
One major part was when I was told I would never do certain things again, which gave me a drive to prove them wrong. I also didn’t want to let my family down as I had two young kids. I recall my young boy crying when he heard that I couldn’t play football with him again. I think that if you put your mind to it and you have a goal, then you should not let anyone deter you. Even if they say you’re not good enough or that your impairments mean that you won’t be able to do something, if you have a passion, then just go out and try your best and have a go. Whatever I’ve done in my life I’ve always tried to do my best, whether that was in work or sport or any other hobby.
Your family have obviously been on the journey with you. Were they happy when you said you wanted to get into doing competitive skiing?
It’s not just about me – everybody is affected when somebody has an injury and I think the family have to go through a lot. It’s a lot of adjusting for everybody. With skiing, my wife knew it was my passion, and it was a family passion as we always used to go skiing as a family – so she knew nothing was going to stop me from doing it. She was always very supportive.
Do you think all of the factors mentioned above will come flushing through your mind when you’re about to start your first event in Pyeongchang? Dare I say it, may the nerves kick in a little bit?
I don’t get nervous when I am skiing as I have just got a passion for being on a mountain and skiing down a hill. The adrenaline takes over and the fear disappears. My family are coming over to South Korea to support me and it’s amazing to have them there with me, supporting me at the bottom of the hill. I am just going to do my family proud, and also my country proud, just doing the best that I can do. Downhill will be my strongest event in South Korea; it will also be my first event. I’ve just come back from Italy where I’ve been training hard, but I do get to have a few days off before I fly out.
Do you have any ambitions beyond these Paralympics in South Korea?
No, to be honest. When I was in hospital, I saw a poster for the London 2012 Paralympics; that was when I made a plan to try and get to a Paralympics. I did go to the last one in Sochi and didn’t compete, but this is what I will have now achieved in Pyeongchang. I have achieved my dream by getting there.
Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics 2018, Fri 9-Sun 18 Mar. Info: wwwparalympics.org.uk