Melanie De Bonna is an alpine skier with an intellectual impairment

De Bonna: Skiing makes me forget my impairment

France’s quadruple alpine skiing gold medallist Melanie De Bonna has spoken of how the sport helps her to overcome her impairment ahead of the upcoming World Championships.

De Bonna, the champion in the super-G, slalom, giant slalom and alpine combined from 2017 is gearing up for the 2018 International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) World Alpine and Nordic Skiing Championships in Zakopane, Poland, from 27 February.

The 21-year-old said she aims to showcase her abilities through her performance on the slopes:

“My motivation is to show that I can do like everybody despite my impairment. Skiing makes me forget my impairment.

“I worked a lot with speech therapists. I also worked a lot at home. My family helped me a lot in my life and they never regret their choice to not put me in a special center for disabled people, and on the contrary to support me in everyday life.”

Having started the sport at three-years-old, De Bonna quickly found she enjoyed the “speed and bumps” of alpine skiing.

She also enjoys competing against others and the feeling of independence it gives her.

Looking towards Zakopane

In Zakopane De Bonna said she will be looking out for Japanese skiers who did not line-up in 2017. To gain the maximum advantage she has been training hard with the Lans en Vercors skiing club. She has also been completing gym work with her coach and competing in smaller competitions.

The Frenchwoman has a strong desire to retain her titles, but is cautious about her chances.

“I am waiting to be in Poland and see the slope. Before thinking about defending my world champion medals, I want to see how is the slope and how these Championships are organised.

“But of course I want to win.”

The 2018 World Intellectual Impairment Sport World Alpine and Nordic Skiing Championships will feature around 60 skiers from 10 countries. The competition runs between 27 February – 2 March.

Live results, updates and pictures from the Suche ski resort the trails of the CentralnyOsrodekSportuZakopane will be available at World Intellectual Impairment Sport’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.