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23 July 2014
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Tanni Grey-Thompson

Paralympics Wheelchair Racing Champion

Sporting successes:
Paralympics: 9 gold, 4 silver and
a bronze. Winner of 5 London Marathons. The world record holder for the 200m, 400m, and 800m.

Development Officer for UK Athletics for 5 years. For the last 18 months Iíve worked part-time, not because of the training, but because of the amount of time Iíve had to spend away from home competing. I've also presented X-Ray for BBC Wales.

Sporting highlight:
The Sydney Olympic Games was the best, the organisation and the fact that the team - and myself - did so well. I worked very hard and was so well-prepared that even if I hadn't won, I would have been happy with my performances.

Sporting low:
The Atlanta Olympic Games was the worst. I didn't have a great Games, although I had some good races. I broke the 200m world record in the qualifiers, but was told by a coach that I might as well retire as I had been a failure. I listened and believed him for about a week. Then, I thought that his opinion didn't really matter to me, and I got on with it and started training again.

Tips to others:
You have to enjoy what you do because of the amount of work that you need to put in to it. The most important thing that I have learnt is to work on the things youíre not so good at (if you aren't good at it, it usually means you don't like doing it). Spend a bit of your time working on the poor bits, then you can get massive improvements. If you keep working all the time on the things that youíre good at, then youíre only looking for a small improvement.

Before Sydney, I worked on my 'starts'. I hated doing them, but after talking with my coaches, I decided that I would do a couple of starts in every session for eighteen months. I actually enjoyed doing them as I wasn't doing a lot in one go. The result was that my pickup (the middle part of the race) was a lot better too - it paid off!

Sport rules ok:
Sport plays a big part in everything that I do. I married an athlete, which makes it easier, because Ian understands so much why I want to do what I do. The day I got married was decided by what was happening in the athletic world the rest of the year! My sister got married at a time of year that guaranteed I would definitely be home. I bought my house near good training routes. It is important at the moment, but I also know that it won't always be like this as I won't be competing for ever.

Worst job:
I think Iíve been lucky to know what I wanted to do, and then I tried to work as hard as I could to get there.

Sometimes the hardest thing is figuring out what you want to do.

Cymraeg (Welsh)

Also see...
Adam Palfrey
Cyril the Swan
Delyth Morgan
Gabby Yorath
Ian Barker
Joe Calzaghe

Mark Hughes
Matthew Stevens
Miles Orchard
Nathan Blake
Nicky Grist

Tanni Grey Thompson


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