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Graham Bell (D179, GBR)

From the slopes of Kitzbühl to the jebels of the Sahara

At 49, Graham Bell has already experienced a number of sporting emotions. Most of them are a far cry from the sand and the desert since he has long made a name for himself in the skiing world. On five occasions, he even had the immense delight of participating in the Winter Olympics (Sarajevo 1984, Calgary 1988, Albertville 1992, Lillehammer 1994 and Nagano 1998). His great pride: having secured 12th place in the downhill section at Kitzbühl, in Austria, famed for being the most perilous and most impressive on the World Cup circuit. At the end of his sporting career, Graham stayed in contact with the boardsports world by becoming a commentator for Eurosport in the Skiing World Cup then, since 2002, the BBC for the Olympic Games. And he’s still a fan of extreme sports.  “There are a great many differences between downhill skiing, which lasts two minutes and a Marathon des Sables that lasts hours and days. Here, anything can happen. You can have problems with your back, your feet, dehydration, etc. In skiing, you have less things to worry about.” Her past as a top-level athlete is important to him though. “During my numerous years of intense training I’ve learnt to sense the moment where I am approaching my limits. I know when I mustn’t exceed them.” 283rd overall after the second leg, Graham had a ball in the jebel stage on leg 2. “It’s paradoxical in relation to my 86kg, but it’s in the uphill that I’m most at ease. Thanks to skiing, which has given me powerful buttock muscles and powerful thighs. I was expecting it to be hard, but not to this extent, especially in terms of the heat. However, it’s really great and the organisation is excellent.”

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