Key Note Speaker - Kelly Gallagher, MBE

We are thrilled to announce our our Keynote speaker as Olympic Gold Medalist, Kelly Gallagher.

Northern Irish skier and Olympic speaker Kelly Gallagher is a visually impaired alpine ski racer who joined the British Disabled Ski Team in 2008. The first Northern Irish athlete to compete in the Winter Paralympics, Kelly also boasts title of the first ever British Paralympic Gold Medallist. A gifted skier Kelly moved to England to attend the University of Bath and took part in her first international skiing competition soon after graduation . Instantly proving herself an excellent athlete and rising Olympic speaker, Kelly Gallagher MBE took a gold medal at her first ever international race at the 2009 Winter Games in New Zealand.

Kelly took part in her first Paralympics in 2010 when, along with sighted guide Claire Robb, she took part in two skiing events and was part of a six strong British Disabled Skiers Team. Despite missing out on a medal – by a paltry 3.36 seconds – Kelly was the highest scoring skier in the British team. Kelly’s position in Team GB was funded by Disability Sport Northern Ireland and in her capacity as a sports speaker she frequently discusses the barriers faced by those with disabilities attempting to break into sport.

Helping to raise the profile of funding bodies such as Disability Sport Kelly Gallagher has become an icon for disabled athletes and is a particularly popular Olympic speaker in her home country. Following her Paralympic debut in 2010, Kelly sought a new sighted guide and eventually became paired with former athlete turned Coach Charlotte Evans who had retired following an injury. Together the two went on to compete in the 2011 IPC World Championships where Kelly Gallagher became the first ever British athlete to win a World Championship medal taking silver medal in the slalom and bronze in the giant slalom.

Though they had only been working together for five weeks Kelly and her 19 year old guide quickly became known as a force to be reckoned with and, shortly after her record breaking win at the World Championships, Gallagher and Evans went on to win a gold medal at the European Cup Finals. Kelly’s most impressive performance to date remains her appearance in the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. Taking Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic medal on 10th March, finishing first in the visually impaired Super-G competition. Later that year Gallagher was awarded an MBE for her work as a sports speaker and contribution to disability sports.