Grey-Thompson, Tanni (Part 3 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 3: Making it from "good enough" athlete to best international. Always had to work very hard because wasn't as talented as others. Therefore used to harder training - so that at later date was better prepared. Understands the social and political decisions made by selectors etc. Made herself a very good planner. Worlds in 1990 - was a good year but 1991 was poor. Barcelona Games became the focus. Coach at this time was herself. Describes why and how coaches herself. Jenny Banks - was coach for number of years - mostly long distance because she lived in Australia. Describes how prefers to have control over her own training - not willing to hand over total control of life as athlete to someone else. Discussion about her character - control and controlling. Psychology of Tanni as athlete. Discuss how she deals with success and failure. Getting an edge as an athlete - e.g. training on Christmas Day. Adapting her training to changes in personal life - marriage, children. Discussion of pregnancy - and affect on mind and body. Returning to professional athletics after giving birth. Describes in detail her daughter Carys and how much she has experienced because her mother is a professional, international athlete. Very funny about how impossible it is to be "perfect mother". Describes her 3 targets to achieve to be good mother - funny story. More detail about her relationship with her daughter. Describes the races that have been most important to her. Marathon in Switzerland in 1996 - gave her all and broke personal best. The other was 2003 in Switzerland when broke World Record in 400m. Significant because some had considered her comeback to be wrong, and she was able to prove them wrong. Gives further detail of how fellow athletes had been keen to dismiss her after she had Carys. Good story to illustrate this. Describes how she is always sick before a race - whatever level Beings sick before a particular race. Return to discussion about psychology of Tanni as athlete. Plans for Paralympics in Athens in 2004 - two Gold and one Silver for team, for herself wants to race fast. Describes how she is unprepared to discuss retirement until it is inevitable. So has no plans except for next event. She knows that she might not make it to next event anyway. Describes how she deals with other people's expectations/perceptions of her as athlete and person. Involvement with Sports organisations and Committees. Also wanted to put something back in to athletics. Use her brain and have something other than athletics. Coaching and teaching sports qualifications. Leads to a discussion of how she feels about the running of sport in the UK. Wants to make sport fun for children. Describes her feelings about the death of her Mother which was recent. Hopes for her daughter.
Interview with paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson