Jessica Gallagher has competed in the Paralympics in not one but three very unique sports; athletics, alpine skiing and track cycling. This year she will head to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Summer Games as a track cyclist.
The summer and winter paralympian was diagnosed with cone dystrophy, a rare eye disease in her final year of school which caused her to lose much of her eyesight.
Jess is legally blind so explains that she will ride a tandem bike “I have a sighted pilot and they steer the bike, so they steer the front and I’m on the back. It’s similar in essence but there’s a lot less risk involved with the cycling but then the type of person that’s required as a pilot on the bike is very different to when skiing.”
"The world record will be broken in Rio so we're hoping that it's us"
Calling Jess’ training regime intense would be a major understatement. Her weekly regime includes two track sessions, three strength conditioning sessions and three to four ergo sessions, on top of a few road rides.
Swapping sports has had a huge effect on Jess’ body. “One of the biggest things for me individually was cycling’s just altered my body shape significantly so I’ve dropped six kilos and despite being as strong as I was as a skier I’m actually stronger now.”
In cycling being as lean as possible is essential as it heavily relies on as the heavier you are the more power you need. Good nutrition is essential Jess follows a very clean diet which is mostly high in proteins and low in carbohydrates. “Being mindful of what you eat is really important.”
Jess also has many non-sporting endeavours she is a board director at Vision 2020 Australia and is an osteopath for the Melbourne City soccer team – talk about keeping busy!