Grey-Thompson, Tanni (Part 2 of 3). An Oral History of British Athletics
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Disability Athletics; Athletics: Track; Athletics: Road events
Interviewee's home, Yorkshire
Grey-Thompson, Tanni, 1969- (speaker, female)
Cutler, Rachel (speaker, female)
Part 2: Using humour to deal with other people's attitudes toward her disability. Story about prejudice at Birmingham airport - having wheelchair removed. Describes the affect of her impairment on others - talks about prejudice and ignorance. Stories about attitude to her when pregnant - from rude to funny. Good stories about discrimination and humiliation. People spoke to her about their interest in her pregnancy. Details a particularly humiliating story about being put on the wrong train. Time when it is OK to ask others for help. Rarely loses her temper. Politics of disability. Describes her role as disabled athlete - not connected. Return to discussion of school life. Favourite subjects and most hated subjects. University was always in her mind. From age of 15 - life was about going to a University with excellent sports facilities. Chose Loughborough over others because of its facilities. Life at Loughborough. Politics - had planned to do History but programme closed down that year. Lived in Bungalow on Campus. Describes training. Poor attitude towards wheelchair users. Found the Athletic Club - elitist and lacking in understanding. Trained with mountaineering team. All about upper body strength. Developed her strength tremendously. Talks through her athletic success up to point of attending University. Joined Bridgend Athletics at 17yrs - coached by Roy Anthony. Describes her relationship with him and his wife. The education provided by Loughborough was often about making her more determined. Describes her attitude to training and friendships made through athletics. Describes her sporting heroes. "Gareth Edwards is God". Chris Hallam, wheelchair athlete from Wales - first wheelchair athlete who inspired her. Long discussion about the Paralympics from 1988 in Seoul to 2000 in Sydney. Changes over time. Television coverage tone and detail. Discuss of the role of Helen Rollason in promoting Paralympics. Australia's attitude toward disabled athletics. Drug tests and the acceptance of disabled attitudes through such tests - yes we will cheat. Getting young people involved in sport and life more generally. Return to discussion of Loughborough and their lack of encouragement until she had proved herself. Details of training schedule from Loughborough days to present day. Details of social life at University. Being away from home - affect on family. Friendships - made and maintained at University. Role of family and friends as part of her life as an athlete. They have made the sacrifices no her - she suggests. Very busy life - often wonders how other people operate without the manic parts of life.
Interview with paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson