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Milton the radical becomes fastest Australian on the snow

April 21, 2006

ONE-legged athlete Michael Milton took his record-breaking career to a new level in France on Wednesday when he became Australia's fastest speed skier.

Milton, 33, surpassed his two-legged countrymen when he clocked 213.65kmh on his favourite run at Les Arcs, breaking the Australian open record of 212.26kmh set by long-time friend Nick Kirshner in 1997. The highly decorated Paralympian's feat earned rich praise.

"Going 213 kilometres [an hour] on one leg, plenty of people wouldn't want to do that in a car," said Tony Naar, national technical director of the Australian Paralympic Committee. "It's just amazing. It's amazing on two legs, on one is mind-blowing. He's in a class of his own."

Milton's blistering run also surpassed his own disabled skiing world record of 210.4kmh, which he set at Les Arcs last year, and he believes he can still improve to a speed between 220-230kmh.

But even Milton reckons the overall open world record of 250.79kmh, held by Frenchman Philippe Goitschel, is out of his reach. Milton admitted it took a special kind of person to succeed in a sport where the consequences of a crash at such speeds are food for thought.

"Speed skiing is an extreme sport and a little bit radical," he said. "You need your head screwed on a bit wrongly. Ever since a kid I've wanted to ski fast and I've spent plenty of time competing against able-bodied athletes."

Surprisingly, Milton said he didn't feel as confident as he did when he set his previous best.

"Last year when I went 210 I felt like I was in form, balanced and confident," he said. "I was the opposite this year because the preparation time was a bit limited, because the Paralympics were about four weeks ago."

And speed skiing probably wasn't even the most daunting thing in his life at present.

"I've also got a baby on the way in August [with partner Penny], which is probably scarier than anything I've done in my skiing career," he said.

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D-I-S-A-B-E-L-E-D

Now tell me again, what was that supposed to mean?

Thank you Catherine. Great article

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