Tanni is Britain's most successful and best known wheelchair athlete. She has won countless gold medals and blitzes the London Marathon almost every year, amongst other events. In recent years she has been branching out into writing and broadcasting.
London 2012 Paralympics: we won and we will win!
11th July 2005
The process of bidding for a Games is a long one, it's never easy, and personally I think that we may not have won it in the final straight but right on the line. The London presentation was stunning and emotional - well, I cried, and I am sure that a few others did too.
There were one or two people at the ceremony in Singapore who thought that we did it in a way that's not normally associated with the very British stiff upper lip syndrome. This time we had our hearts on our sleeves. If there was an honour above Lord, then Seb Coe should get it, and Denise Lewis was magical in her description of what being at the Olympics meant to her.
But that's enough of the sycophantic stuff. What people really want to know is: now we have it, what does it mean for us?
There is no doubt that all the bids were technically good, and said most of the right things. The reason that I was involved with the London 2012 bid was because I believed in it. It wasn't about the 17 days of the Olympics that we heard lots about - a Games which could just have had a tag at the end saying that whatever we do for the main Games we will do for the rest. It was much better than that (and better than many other bids in that respect).
There was no way that I was going to be part of something that just tagged disability on at the end. I didn't need to be there as some kind of token, and I wasn't. There were some people involved who, years ago, didn't know much about the Paralympics - but now they do. I was involved because it was inclusive.
You may have seen the coverage of the Olympic results on Wednesday lunchtime. It was mainly about the Olympics, but I was content because behind the scenes there were lots of people who cared about my sport and were making sure that it was right. The final presentation is the final presentation though, and it had to be handled in a certain way.
The Olympics has a massive profile, this is true. The profile of the Paralympics is improving, but it will probably never get to the same level as the former. By having the Games in London though, I believe there is a chance that this will happen. Britain deserved the opportunity to host the event because - whether you care about sport or not - disability sport is something that we are good at.
The Games will bring financial benefits, tourism, sporting glory ... but for me, it will be a bloomin' good chance to see lots of disabled athletes doing what they do best - sport.
Will a Paralympics held in London help to cut discrimination, provide opportunities, and make things better? I don't know the answer to that, but I hope so. We cannot afford to have a Paralympic team that doesn't do well, so disability sport will have to move higher up the political agenda. If they are on the ball, disability sports bodies will become 'political' and play a smart game.
As part of this drive towards 2012, sport in schools will be looked at because we need lots of young disabled people competing. We don't want them to be dumped in a Saturday morning sports club that is really just a créche ... and governing bodies will have to do a really good job of proper inclusion. If they don't, the British public will at last find out about the real flaws in the system - because the results sheets will tell the story.
I'll get off my orange box for the moment, but if disability sport got really organised and we all talked to each other, then we could take on the world.
Whether you're a sports fan or not, if we don't use this as one of the best reasons to make sure that we campaign to do something good for all disabled people, then we are missing a trick. I never thought that I would ever say this, but I will just the once: we can all be winners.
On the other hand, if you hate sport and think I am a fruitloop ... well, just think of it as the 17 days of the Olympic Games, with something tagged on at the end.
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