UK & World News

  • 19 December 2013, 20:09

Heather Mills Quits Ski Team Over Boot Row

Heather Mills has been accused of a "disgraceful outburst" after a row over a ski boot ended her dream of competing at the Paralympic Games.

The ex-wife of Sir Paul McCartney reportedly "erupted with rage" when the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) told her she would have to change her equipment or be disqualified.

According to the Daily Mirror, she threatened to have IPC official Sylvana Mestre removed from her post, telling her: "I will make your life a misery."

Craig Spence, a spokesman for the IPC, said the "aggressive behaviour and verbal abuse" had left Ms Mestre "extremely shocked and upset".

"Para-athletes are role models and an inspiration to billions of people around the world," he said.

"This disgraceful outburst is not what we expect from any athletes competing in our competitions and will not be tolerated.

"We understand the pressure athletes are under in the lead-up to Sochi 2014 and that Heather has been working extremely hard to achieve her goal.

"However, there can be no excuse for such aggressive and intimidating behaviour towards such a highly respected and experienced official within the Paralympicmovement.

"All Sylvana was trying to do was enforce the rules and offer Heather a solution to the issue."

Ms Mills, 45, had her left leg amputated below the knee after a road traffic accident in 1993.

She earned a place in the development squad of the British Disabled Ski Team (BDST) in 2010 and won a silver medal - the first of her World Cup career - in a slalom race in New Zealand in August.

However, when the IPC noticed she was competing on a modified boot that was different to one approved by its technical committee, she was told to revert back to the standard equipment or be disqualified.

In a statement, the committee said: "Only approved adaptive equipment can be used in IPC Alpine Skiing competitions, a rule that applies to all athletes within the sport."

Ms Mills has now quit the BDST, ending her hopes of competing at the Games in Russia next March.

The British Paralympic Association said Ms Mills had "shown determination and made great progress over the past few months".

They added: "Occasionally in sport equipment issues arise, especially with adaptive equipment and the interpretation of the rules in relation to its use.

"Therefore we are all saddened that she has decided to retire at this stage, rather than working with BDST and IPC Skiing to resolve the issue."

Ms Mills declined to comment when contacted by Sky News.

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