Perrine moves out of Gallagher's shadow

Warren Barnsley
Melissa Perrine has forged her own path in skiing after the success of Jess Gallagher

Melissa Perrine and Jess Gallagher are both two-time Paralympic bronze medallists in alpine skiing but for a long time their fates seemed destined to be different.

When Gallagher reached the podium in vision-impaired slalom at Vancouver 2010 in her first Winter Games, Perrine was eighth.

In giant slalom in Sochi, Gallagher celebrated again while Perrine cursed a DNF.

While Gallagher left the snow to pursue para-cycling - which proved successful with a bronze at the Rio Games - the 30-year-old Perrine set her sights on PyeongChang.

And despite hiccups in her first two events, it paid off as Perrine clinched back-to-back medals in super-combined and giant slalom.

Perrine has had to overcome a lot.

Like Gallagher, she was born with vision impairment but sees less than her former teammate.

She also manages epilepsy, which requires careful planning around training and competition to avoid seizure-inducing fatigue.

And then there was her Sochi disaster four years ago, when she left with a fourth, three DNFs and a controversial disqualification for duct-taping an illegal sun visor to her helmet, for which she was sharply criticised.

She's also had to keep up with rapid improvements in women's vision-impaired skiing, highlighted by her coach and sighted guide Christian Geiger, who led Gallagher down the snow in Sochi.

"The women's sport has come a long way," Geiger told AAP.

"Her (Gallagher's) bronze medal was 13 seconds back, and if you're 13 seconds back these days, you're dead last.

"Jess was physically a really good athlete and very brave in slalom. She took shortest line.

"With Mel, she's more blind than what Jess was. We've had to adapt to that.

"But we've got Mel cutting down metres and skiing a much shorter distance than what she used to."

Perrine had the credentials leading into her third Games with 17 World Cup medals in the past two years, attributing her PyeongChang success to a focus on consistency.

"I had relatively decent World Cup form going into Sochi and had a lot of bad luck," she said.

"I'm really relieved that the work we've done on consistency over the past couple of years have paid off into World Cup transitioning into the really big major competition form."