By Tom Degun
October 13 - Sean Rose (pictured) will today be looking excitedly at the calendar because, with exactly 150 days to go until the Vancouver 2010 Winter Paralympics opens, one of Britain's best hopes for a medal in Canada knows that every moment is precious.
Rose - who competed at the Turin 2006 Winter Paralympics after sit-skiing for just one year – took up the sport after a severe accident on the snow.
But having become one of the world’s greatest in his profession, the 38-year-old Rose from St Neots is determined to claim a medal in Vancouver having narrowly missed out on one in Turin in 2006 and believes he is in fantastic form to claim the sports ultimate prize.
Rose told insidethegames: "I'm really positive with my form heading into Vancouver.
"I've been trying out new things on the snow, testing new equipment and really experimenting to try get that extra speed.
"We've really been pushing the boat out in training and I’m very confident with my preparations at this stage.
"I'm heading into the Games with definite medal expectations and when I recently went down the Whistler Track [the same track the Paralympic sit-skiing will take place on] my times were right up there with the best."
Rose, who has a house in Canada and spent a lot of time in the country as a young boy, is delighted with how the Whistler circuit is set up.
He said: "It suits me down to the ground
"It's just such an interesting course and when you finish, you have this unbelievable buzz.
"It's got some really funky turns and on the final leap, you are travelling around 60-70 miles per hour.
"It's unbelievable and great to get out of the wheelchair and be able to head down the snow like that."
Having competed at the Paralympics in Turin, Rose is fully aware of what the atmosphere in Vancouver will be like.
He said: "The whole thing is absolutely electrifying.
"When you see all the fireworks go off and 30 to 40,000 people cheering you on, you can't help but be completely inspired by the Paralympics."
Rose, a former RAF Physical Training Instructor, broke his back whilst teaching pilots to ski in Garmisch in Germany nine years ago.
After five operations and an extensive rehabilitation programme Rose was determined to continue doing the sports he loved, although originally, following his accident, he was unsure if he wanted to head out onto the snow ever again.
However, after a trip to the Winter Park, Colorado with spinal cord injury charity: "The Back Up Trust", everything changed for Rose.
"It was really hard for me to adapt [following the accident] and I wasn't too sure about heading back onto the snow.
"I was apprehensive at the time and I thought I wouldn’t like it. I thought I would be like, 'I used to be able to do that.'
"But the second I got onto the snow and gave seated skiing a try, I didn’t look at anyone else.
"It was absolutely fantastic and I loved it from the first second.
"I started out as a recreational sit-skier but after a while, I got dragged into a race."
The rest as they say, is history.
Rose took up the sport on a full-time basis and has gone on to be a major force on the world stage.
In January at the World Cup in Sestriere he won two medals, claiming the silver in the downhill and finishing third in the combined.
He believes that British success in Vancouver will hopefully inspire more people, disabled or otherwise to take up the sport in this country.
He said: "It's not really a weekend sport; it's more a full time sport so other countries that have natural snow all the time have got an advantage on us.
"But with more sponsorship and more media attention, I think participation will definitely increase.
"We’ve got some great indoor venues in this country [such as the Sno! Zone indoor slope at Milton Keynes where Rose often trains] and with the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics coming to London, I think kids will be inspired to take up all sports, not just summer sports.
"[London] 2012 is definitely something that winter sports can jump on the back of and get more British people involved in our sport."
But for now, Rose is fully concentrated on Vancouver and will be taking a very special lucky charm to Canada with him.
He said: "Yeah little Thomas [Rose’s one year old son] will be my mascot for Vancouver.
"The whole family will be out there, my mum, my dad, my wife but its going to be particularly special to see the little man dressed in the Union Jack at the bottom of the hill shouting his dad on if he’s not too busy playing in the snow.
"It will be so great to win a medal to make him proud and say, 'Look, this is what your dad has done'.
"It's a hit and miss sport and anything can happen out there but that is why I love it so much and that's what makes it so exciting."
Find out more about Rose by clicking here.
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