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Four Paralympians that have been there, done that and got the medal

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Four years ago the mantra of the London Olympic and Paralympic games was to create a legacy that would ‘Inspire a Generation,’ which ultimately meant making sport accessible to everybody and encouraging them to join in. This year the competition was back, in Rio this time, and after already smashing the Olympics by finishing second in the medal table, Team GB did the same in the Paralympics. The final haul was an impressive 147 medals – 64 golds, 39 silvers and three bronze.

But, how much do you actually know about these incredible athletes? Here are just four of them, who have been there done that and got the medal.

Karen Drake
Paralympic cyclist Karen Drake became paralysed from the chest down after falling from a cliff she was climbing in Scotland at the age of 21. However, an experience that, at the time, felt like the end of her life actually became the start of an extraordinary new adventure. Back for more at Rio 2016, Karen has already won silver in the 2012 games and completed her biggest challenge to date – a 600-kilometre traverse of the Greenland ice cap, which took her a month to complete.

Tanni Grey-Thompson
Tanni is one of Britain’s greatest and most successful Paralympic athletes – over 16 years and 5 Paralympic games she built up a collection of 11 gold, four silver and one bronze medal in wheelchair racing. She actually held the British female record for her 11 golds up until the Rio games this year, when cyclist Sarah Storey took the title from her. In 2005 Tanni became a ‘Dame’ for her services to sport, then in 2010 she was conferred as Baroness Grey-Thompson, of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham. Among many other things, Tanni now works for UK Athletics, encouraging British youth to take up the sport and makes regular appearances on our TV screens.

Danny Crates
In 1994 a promising rugby career was cut short when Danny lost his right arm in an accident while travelling in Australia at the age of 21. However, he actually returned to rugby, becoming the only known arm amputee playing club rugby in the country – later he turned his attention to athletics where he quickly started competing with the best in the world. He made his international debut in the 1998 World Championships, reaching the 400m final and winning a silver medal in the 4 x 400 m relay with a new European record time. He has received both bronze and gold medals at the Paralympic games and this year he is back in Rio, but presenting rather than competing.

Giles Long
At the age of 13 Giles discovered he had a bone tumour in his arm that would prevent him from achieving his goal of becoming an Olympic swimmer. He has, however, become one of the most successful and well respected Paralympic swimmers. At 17 he broke his first world record and qualified for the 100m Butterfly at the Atlanta Paralympics as the fastest in the world. He then went on to win gold medals and set new records. He now presents on the sport rather than competes in it.

Talking of ‘Inspiring a Generation’, did you know that you could hire any of the above to come and talk about their experiences and how they overcame challenges to do something amazing? Who better than a Paralympian, who not only excels in their sport but does so with a disability, to motivate and encourage a new generation of sport stars! Interested? Check out Speakers Corner to find out more!