This week we interviewed the inspirational Dame Sarah Storey, British multiple gold medal winner at the 2012 Paralympic Games. Sarah lives in Cheshire with her husband Barney and their daughter Louisa, born in 2013.
You’re known for being one of England’s most successful Paralympians, what is itlike to compete at such high level events?
Exciting and a huge honour. I love travelling and meeting new people so sport is a perfect match for me.
You got into sport at the very early age of 4, and won your first gold medal when you were just 14! Was it always your dream to compete professionally, and exactly who and what inspires you?
I was first inspired by the 1984 Olympics in LA and wanted to be an athlete from then on. At those Games I was inspired by a 15 year old swimmer called Sarah Hardcastle, but these days I am inspired by those around me who keep pushing me to be the best I can be.
Will you encourage your own children to take up sport at an early age, and why is it so important for our little ones?
I will give Louisa all the opportunities she needs to be involved with sport for health and fitness reasons, already we play in the garden with footballs and games. Physical activity is important for long term health but whether Louisa chooses a career in sport is entirely up to her.
You won 4 gold medals in the London 2012 Olympics, how did this make you feel?
Amazing and in shock! I had always dreamed of winning in front of a home crowd and producing such dominant performances, so when it happened it was a dream come true.
You live in the beautiful Disley in Cheshire. Where are the best family-friendly places to go in the area, and what’s your idea of a perfect family weekend?
Lyme Park is on our doorstep and Chatsworth is about an hour away. We are also close to several off road bike trails like the Tissington Trail and Middlewood Way. A perfect family weekend would be spending time together in the park, going swimming and enjoying our beautiful countryside. Lots of places for hide and seek!
You had to have and emergency c-section after several days of being in labour.Tell us a bit about this experience, and what advice would you give to our readers who are worried about labour?
I didn’t know I was in labour as it started very slowly but when I got to hospital I was examined by an ogre of a midwife who broke my waters without my asking and then proceeded to hook me up to a saline drip and overly hydrate me because she assumed I was dehydrated without checking my urine samples! The poor care basically meant my labour never got going and the induction drip was ineffective because I was pumped full of water and going light headed. In the end, the baby’s heart rate was decelerating rapidly and the only option was a C-section, which wasn’t ideal. I would encourage readers not to be worried about labour, your body is an amazing thing, but make sure your birth partner is ready to stand up for you if you get rough treatment and be prepared to make decisions in labour too.
What’s your favourite family recipe?
Spaghetti bolognaise. It is a bit of a cliche and everyone’s staple but we followed the baby led weaning route with Louisa and she was surprisingly good with Spag Bol from an early age!
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
Our moby wrap baby sling. Soft and comfy and long enough to grow with Louisa, we have used this for her naps for her whole first year and even now she sometimes prefers to sleep close to us in the day. It’s perfect for cuddly babies when you need your hands free!
With so many gold medals under your belt, what’s in the pipeline for you next?
Road World Championships in the USA later this month and the qualification of my place for the Rio Paralympics in 2016. I am also co-owner and manager of the Boot Out Breast Cancer Cycling team which rides for it’s main sponsors Pearl Izumi and Sports Tours International. We are a UK based women’s cycling team which started in 2014 and have been labelled the best team in the uk after a brilliant first season.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
Driven, dedicated and passionate about giving the best I have to people and performance.