1 Aug

Be inspired…By a Paralympian.
Par·a·lym·pic Games
plural noun an international competition for physically disabled athletes.

Okay – I’m going to admit it: I HATE THE OLYMPICS. I couldn’t care less; I’ve been rolling my eyes through every conversation, about the London 2012 games, which I have had to endure for the last few months. I know this opinion may seem ignorant or blind sighted because as it was put to me once ‘the Olympics are a time to see all that’s great in the world and mankind coming together’. Well, honestly, I thought that was a little dramatic and a perhaps a bit stupid too but it definitely got me intrigued and sparked a small secret mission of mine to see what the actual fuss was all about.
Now I have definitely not found THE answer as to why the Olympics are so important to so many, but I have managed to stumble across so many smaller and really cool reasons as to why they have such a place in the hearts of so many.

Nowhere near as much hyped about as the Olympics but part of London 2012, and all Olympic games, is the Paralympics (competition for disabled athletes). Now this is something I can get into, this is gripping and hey I might even go as far to say a showcase for ‘All that is good in the world’.

I’m someone who really gets out of breathe after walking quickly to the kitchen for a biscuit – so to think a physically disabled person could say swim 50 metres or compete in an Archery tournament whilst not being able to use their legs absolutely astounds me – and both achievements I’ve found out a lady called Margaret Maughan did with ease.

photo from here

In 1959, at the age of 31, Margaret Maughan was involved in a car accident which left her in a wheelchair BUT AMAZINGLY in 1960 she was winning Gold for Britain in the Rome games.

She won two gold medals during the competition and was the first British person to do so EVER! She was an Archer by sport (think Robin Hood, but real!) but also entered the 50 metre swim and came away with Gold in both. She swam for team points for GB as no competitors had entered. Speaking recently with Channel 4 she said ‘I daren’t even tell you how long it took me’ and that it was not the medal she was proud of, quite obviously. Margeret had never swum 50 metres before, even before her accident and it actually took her 1 hour and 49 minutes. That’s one length in a standard pool. I’m still completely astonished.This secured her a place in sporting history, but not only this but there’s also the fact that she was also an incredible Archer whilst being a full time disabled teacher with the opurtunity to practice just once a week. What a woman.

I think it’s so important to have people to inspire you – and which allow us to believe that there’s nothing in our way, no dream in unreachable and nothing to much trouble. I know now that I will be watching some of the games this year, with admiration for the dedication and the achievements made by all of the athletes. I’m especially looking forward to the Paralympics (being broadcast on Channel 4, unlike the Olympics on BBC).

If there’s any women that you’d like me to look at for next time, please get in touch with me on twitter (@craves) or email the editor a I’d love to hear who inspires you.

N.B I’m also heavily influenced by Beyonce and my love for her will become clear very soon, I’m sure of it.

About the writer: Tahnee (say it Tar-Knee) is an English Literature graduate and works at a theatre in Cardiff where you’ll generally find her getting misty eyes over some new piece of writing. One day she’ll be the director of the Royal Shakespeare Company but until then you’ll find her writing for Yellow Bunting, mooching around second hand books shops and eating cake. She occasionally tweets too.


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