Para Snowboarder, James Barnes-Miller, had a rollercoaster journey to get to Beijing 2022.
With one Paralympics appearance under his belt already, James Barnes-Miller feels more than prepared for a second go when he heads to Beijing for this year’s Winter Games.
Barnes-Miller, 32, fully immersed himself in the experience during his first Paralympic outing at PyeongChang four years ago.
But this time around, the para snowboarder is ready to take a more ruthless, medal-focussed approach in the hope of improving on his seventh-place finish in 2018.
The Tunbridge Wells ace reckons this new battle-hardened mindset could help propel him onto the podium in Beijing.
“I know what I’m going into,” said Barnes-Miller, one of over 1,000 athletes able to train full-time, access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to vital National Lottery funding.
“The Paralympic Games are a big show, there’s way more press and way more interest,” he says.
“I took that all in the first time [in PyeongChang]. I went there and had the whole experience.
“But now I can just go in knowing what to expect and just focus on the racing.
“I’m going into every race now, not expecting, but hoping I can get on the podium.
“It would mean everything [to win a medal] – it’s been a busy, weird four years, so it would just be incredible.”
Barnes-Miller has enjoyed a rollercoaster journey since 2018, having cracked his collar bone in three places after his Paralympic debut.
The injury threw him off course and it took a gruelling period of rehabilitation before he was back firing on all cylinders.
Another serious shoulder injury just before Christmas could have further derailed his progress but after winning three medals at last month’s World Championships, he will arrive in Beijing in red-hot form.
“It does take a lot, especially when you have a big fall or injury, to get back up and go again,” said Barnes-Miller, who is aiming to add to the 1,000-plus medals achieved by British athletes since the introduction of National Lottery funding to elite sport in 1997.
“You have to have something about you. Getting knocked down and having to get back up when you get knocked down properly takes a bit.
“It’s cool and massive as an opportunity – the more people we get watching, the more we can open it up to and get either competing, or just out on the snow.
“I don’t feel like a role model – I just go out there and try my best and hope that inspires people who want to go out and have a go on a snowboard.”
Since National Lottery funding to elite sport started in 1997, over 1,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been won, with more to come in Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and beyond.