Sports Personality: Martine Wright wins Helen Rollason Award

Martine Wright, who nearly died the day after London was awarded the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has won the BBC Helen Rollason Award for 2012.

Wright lost both her legs in the 7/7 bombings in 2005, but fought back to compete in the Paralympics.

Since the terror attack, the 40-year-old Londoner, who played sitting volleyball for Team GB, has had a baby, got married and learned to fly a plane.

"I count myself lucky that I have done the journey," she says.

Recent Helen Rollason Award winners

  • 2011: Bob Champion - Horse racing
  • 2010: Frank Williams - Formula 1
  • 2009: Major Phil Packer - Help for Heroes charity
  • 2008 Alastair Hignell - Commentator, multiple sclerosis awareness
  • 2007: Oscar Pistorius - Athletics, Paralympics
  • 2006: Paul Hunter - Snooker
  • 2005: Geoff Thomas - former footballer, cancer charity fundraiser

The award, presented at Sports Personality of the Year in memory of the BBC presenter who died in 1999 at the age of 43 after suffering from cancer, is given for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.

Of the many stories around the Paralympics that could be described as inspirational, Wright's truly fits the bill.

She lost 80% of the blood in her body, was in a coma for 10 days and had surgery over a 10-month period while learning to walk again with prosthetic legs, which she removes for volleyball.

Wright was sitting just feet away from a bomber on the London Underground at Aldgate when his device detonated.

"It was a normal day. I was just a little bit late and unfortunately I chose the carriage the bomb was on," she says.

"It's quite a miracle I'm here as I was only three feet away from him and 52 people there that day didn't survive.

"I did lose my legs. I had to learn to walk again, but opportunities have come my way that never would have if I had not been involved that day.

"My attitude to life, and I think anyone who goes through anything traumatic like that, is grabbing every single opportunity. Lots of people didn't get that chance."

Wright has learned to ski again, parachuted out of an aeroplane and played sport for Great Britain at a home Games.

In 2010, five years to the day after the bombings, she flew out to her first sitting volleyball World Championships in the United States.

"I do believe in turning things around. Anyone who goes through something so dramatic, and maybe so negative, you get so many positives afterwards and this is definitely one of them," she says.

She featured as the British women's sitting volleyball team made their Paralympic debut, losing all five matches but almost taking sets off Ukraine, Brazil and Japan.

"To be part of one of the biggest things that has ever happened, and represent my country, was amazing," she says.

"No-one should underestimate the power of sport as a rehabilitation tool. For me, it gave me my confidence back. It gave me a goal again, a dream - something I could work towards.

"I've been given a rare opportunity that I never ever dreamed of when I had legs."