Roonan delighted after golden hat-trick
Sam Roonan toasted winning three gold medals at the World Transplant Winter Games and revealed: I outdid myself.
The Havant talent also clinched a silver for Great Britain in Anzere, Switzerland – five years after undergoing a life-saving double lung transplant.
Roonan was triumphant in the slalom, giant slalom and super giant slalom, while he also finished runner-up in the parallel slalom.
It was the first time the former Warblington School student was successful in an international tournament.
He had previously represented Team GB in the World Transplant Summer Games, in Spain and Argentina, in racket sports.
Roonan admitted he was not as prepared as he would have liked to have been heading to Switzerland.
And his results surpassed all his expectations.
He said: ‘I’m very proud of myself for doing well over there. It was really good in the end.
‘I was more hoping to win a few medals but not expecting any golds.
‘I outdid myself and performed far better than I imagined.
‘After my operation, I thought I might compete in something like this but I never predicted I’d win any medals.
‘In the past couple of years, I’ve only skied a few times so I was okay but wasn’t as prepared as I thought I would be.
‘I went to the snow dome in Hemel Hempstead to practice a couple of times and also went skiing last season.
‘It was my first time in a competitive skiing tournament.
‘It was definitely a shock to the system winning three golds.
‘Beforehand, if I was going to clinch a gold medal, I’d have predicted it would have been in the super-G.
‘It’s my best event, which has an emphasis on speed.’
Roonan was defeated by Nicolas Boyer in the parallel slalom but got his revenge in the super giant slalom.
The 19-year-old enjoyed the battle with the Frenchman, as well as hearing the stories of those who have been in a similar position.
And Roonan, who works in Rinskis ski shop, in Bosham, is hoping for a similar return at the next World Transplant Winter Games in Norway in 2020.
‘There was a bit of rivalry in the end,’ he added.
‘It was great to have someone to challenge and it was nice he did manage to win a gold medal.
‘It was great to meet other people who have had transplants and was quite interesting hearing all their stories.
‘When I was speaking to everyone over there, it makes you realise just how lucky you are to be there with all these other people who are also very lucky.
‘In Norway, the pressure will be on but as long as I practice and keep going then I definitely still have a shot.
‘I’ll be hoping for a return at least similar.
‘There’s a couple of people around who will keep improving so I’ve got to make sure I do so as well.’