Sunday, 20 July 2014

5 Minutes of Fame

If I ever needed a reminder that fame and personal glory were short lived, this was exactly the put down I needed…

Just over a week ago some of you may have logged into your BBC Sport page to find an article on me on their front page right next to the latest headlines for the World Cup.  That was the day before I was due to race 200m in a straight(ish) line to retain my European gold. Apparently I even made the evening news and as a result was inundated with tweets and emails from people who had personal experiences similar to mine and felt moved enough to “find me”, wish me luck, share their personal pain and thank me for inspiring them. The night before a major race this was not the preparation I was supposed to be doing. But those who know me will understand that hearing that I had helped others cope with their personal trauma was perfect for me to go into race day feeling on top of the world.
being filmed doing chin ups
The BBC interview and filming itself had taken place a few weeks prior. It had been an utterly bonkers day – a camera pointed at your grimacing face while you struggle to do chin ups; and a launch boat plus 'film crew' following you for an entire session on the water, forcing you to struggle to keep “looking focused” for the whole time!!

some of the tweets..
I was mildly curious about how the article would turn out, especially when Jenna, the journalist, admitted that the people at BBC liked me because they thought I was inspiring but also a bit bonkers! For those of you who haven’t read it the link is here…

The race lake itself was about as bad as it could have been.  It was rough and windy – in fact if I could have specified a set of weather conditions that I really don’t like, one that plays against my physical weakness and lack of stability, then this was exactly it. I didn’t care. Knowing that so many people were behind me was such a fantastic feeling and I just couldn't stop smiling.  One of my competitors tried to put me off (I do find people playing psych games funny) but what she didn’t know was that my ‘race’ was already won. I did also happen to win the timed event, and was absolutely thrilled to regain my European title in a world record time (woo hoo!!).
at the finish line

Again my social media erupted and I wondered how celebrities cope with all of this ... I kept getting stopped by people asking me to sign their shirts or take a selfie with them. I was quite thankful when I was taken into the closed off area to wait for my medal ceremony. The weather was so severe that the ceremony dragged on with regular delays. I was starving and also noticed how pale one of my team mates looked… “I'm just so hungry”, he said.  Looking over at my parents in the stand I suddenly realised I might be able to help.

"Mum do you have any of your home made biscuits?" I knew Mum never travels without her homemade ginger and marmalade shortbreads and, true to form, she handed me a massive tub, full to the brim.

Mums famous biscuits

Back at the medal ceremony I handed out Mums biscuits to all sheltering from the rain.  German Officials in their finery initially refused but little by little more and more people succumbed, "mmmmm wow! These are incredible!!!” The Mayor of Brandenburg, big wigs from the international Paralympic committee and international canoe federation all tucking enthusiastically into Mums biscuits!

The next day, back at the race arena, I was stopped by two men. So what was it to be, I thought, autograph or selfie?  In stilted English one asked, "I have heard about your Mothers biscuits ... is she still here so I could taste zem please?”

I burst out laughing. Front page of BBC Sports, European Gold and world record and to these German men I was just the daughter of the woman who makes amazing biscuits, which is precisely how it should be!
European gold!

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1 comment:

  1. Another incredible chapter to your amazing story - you should write a book ;)
    Well done, such a fantastic achievement.