A New Plymouth sportsman's first taste of the Paralympic Winter Games also came with the sweet taste of bringing home New Zealand's only medal from Sochi.
Sit-skier Corey Peters won silver at the men's giant slalom sitting event on Saturday, missing first place by 0.47 seconds which went to Switzerland's Christoph Kutz but beating third-placed Austrian Roman Rabl by 0.11 seconds.
Peters was a former Taranaki age group rugby representative who was paralysed after a motocross accident in 2009.
He said his experience at his inaugural Paralympic Winter Games had been phenomenal.
"It makes it even more special coming away with a medal," he said. "Even if I didn't have a medal, I'd still be stoked but this is just the icing on the cake."
Mum Lorraine told the Taranaki Daily News Peters was "smothered with congratulations" by well-wishers in Sochi, who could not get enough of the athlete from "small New Zealand".
"He [Peters] probably thinks he's quite important now," she said.
Husband Dennis was in Russia with Peters and was just "tickled pink" with his son's success, Mrs Peters said.
"And the whole team and coach for that matter, to see how far he's come," she said.
Mrs Peters received two phone calls, one from Peters' sister and another from Dennis, early yesterday to inform her of the good news. "I didn't get much sleep after that. It's been really, really good. I'm really proud."
Brother Jade said the family was "pretty excited" with Peters' win. "We weren't expecting it," he said. "We're very impressed with what he's got."
Jade had been watching the Sochi games online and was kept at the edge of his seat as he followed his brother's events.
"We haven't really planned anything to celebrate the win but will probably organise something when he's back in April," Jade said.
Chef de Mission Ashley Light said expectations for Peters were just "top 10 and for him to win the silver medal was just a fantastic result".
- Taranaki Daily News
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