Grey-Thompson, Tanni (Part 1 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 1: Family - home was Glossop Terrace in Cardiff. Parents - Selwyn & Peter. Sister Sian 18 months older. Born with Spina Bifida. Early years - affect of Spina Bifida on mobility. Wheelchair user - most positive thing as child because it was enabling in terms of mobility. Reaction to people's perception of wheelchair users. Details of how parents dealt with disability. How that attitude has affected her attitude as an adult. Characters in family - very competitive despite Spina Bifida. Because of such fitness - disability has not impaired her life as much as it has others. Realised this most particularly when pregnant - gives details of how pregnancy affected life. Relationship with sister - Sian. Family life. Sport in family - detail of participation and supporter - great story of mother's support for Welsh Rugby Team. Religion in family. Tanni - not religious - good Sunday school expulsion story. Parents very encouraging - very liberal - keen to allow children to make informed choices. Attitude today is one of no regrets. Grandparents. Paternal grandfather was motorbike racer - TT and Isle of Man. Parents' upbringing had been restrictive. Parents - meeting and marriage - relationship & characters in more detail. Family relationships. Very strong bond with her mother - hopes to have the same relationship with daughter Carys. Discussion about first finding out about Spina Bifida - Mother's reaction to it. The pressure from others - on parents. Describes her own relationship with "Spina Bifida side of life". Doesn't think/want to know about her condition. Operations over the years - aged 7, aged 13, and aged 19. Aged 13 - operation to support spine with metal rod was life saving. Detail of operation and post operation - six months in body plaster. Discusses change in body over time - ribs and organs in "funny places". How she began to participate in sport and moving through to athletics as main sport. Schooling. Detail of difficulties of attending ordinary state school. Primary school experience positive. Secondary school - fight to attend ordinary school - discusses parents fight in detail. Argues that because parents were well educated and middle class they understood how to fight the establishment. Eventually got place at secondary school. Feminist deputy head - Audrey Jones-great motivator. Enjoyed school - good scholar. Discussion around the attitude to disability within society - describes attitude of grandparents to her condition. disability politics - dealing with prejudice. language around disability. social and medical disability attitudes. Using humour against ignorance and prejudice.
Interview with paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson