After a week of suffering really rather badly from the post-Olympics blues, everything’s ok because the Paralympics are about to start! We’re hugely relieved to know that the coverage on Channel 4 will be in the capable hands of the legend that is Clare Balding and we’ve got our tickets to Goalball, so all is well. And now it’s time to turn our attention to some of the incredible female Paralympians who will be competing for Team GB. First up is cyclist Sarah Storey, OBE.
Versatility is surely Sarah’s defining quality as a sportswoman. Born without a functioning left hand, she began her athletic career as a swimmer (winning two golds, three silvers and a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Paralympics at the scarily young age of 14) before switching to cycling in 2005.
Not only did she conquer that sport with ease, she competes regularly against able-bodied athletes – winning the 3km national track championship in 2008 and defending her title in 2009. She was part of the England team at the 2010 Commonwealth Games (the first disabled cyclist to compete for England at a Commonwealth Games) putting her in the same league as South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, aka ‘the Blade Runner’ who has already competed in the Olympics this summer and will soon be running again in the Paralympics.
At the Beijing Paralympics in 2008 she won the individual pursuit final with a time that would have placed her in the top eight in the Olympic final, making her surely one of our greatest athletes. London 2012 will be her SIXTH Paralympic Games which I think is pretty freakin’ amazing.
Basically, the woman is a legend and it’s going to be thrilling watching her compete for Team GB next week. She’ll be defending her 3000m title in the individual pursuit and road time trial gold medal too and we wish her well. In an interview with the BBC she said, “People are seeing athletes first, it’s not really about whether someone’s disabled or not, it’s about athleticism and sport and being the best performer that you possibly can be.”
Picture Credit: Rex Features