We were extremely excited to kick off our Heroes of CP interview series with Ellie Simpson. She is such an inspiring person. Not only did she manage to win two gold medals at the CPISRA World Games, but she is also the founder of CP Teens UK, an increasingly successful non-profit organization helping teenagers & young people with Cerebral Palsy and similar disabilities.
CP Teens UK: http://www.cpteensuk.org/
2015 CPISRA World Games: http://www.cpsport.org/news/cpisra-world-games/
Whilst conducting this part of the interview, the things that I was particularly struck by about Ellie’s message were;
- the importance of community for motivation and successfully achieving her goals,
- the potentially damaging misconceptions that she has been exposed to and how she rose above them,
- and her enduring memories from the moments after she won her gold medals.
Ellie says it best herself though, so watch the video above.
The transcript is below.
I’m Ellie Simpson, I’m 21 years old, and I go to Sheffield Hallam. I am a race runner for England
I race run because I really like the feel of it. I can’t run normally, and I can’t race with wheelchairs because my hands don’t work properly, so race running gives me opportunity to run on the track.
A few years ago I didn’t do any exercise at all, and when I discovered the Paralympics I thought it would be a good thing to get into.
I thought there would be a social side to it because I saw on the TV at the Paralympics that team GB all seemed to really support one another and get on with one another, and I thought, I want a bit of that action.
At the World Games last year I was part of team England, and there was a massive team spirit, and I managed to win gold in two of my races. When I was coming up the home straight I could hear the rest of team England just going wild.
Like the noise in the stadium definitely spurred me on, because the other runner was just behind me, and I think without the crowd, I wouldn’t have powered on to win.
All through my childhood, it was like; you can’t do sport, sport’s not for you, you can do things elsewhere. I just accepted that, and then I watched the Paralympics, and I thought, hang on a minute, that’s not right. I told my Mum and Dad when they had some friends round that I would go and give it a go, and my Mum and Dad’s friends were like haha… no way, and I was like, no I’m gonna do it.
I think last year when I went to the World Games, it was the closing ceremony, and I’d won two golds, and three years before I was watching the Paralympics thinking, aah maybe one day. But I never thought it would actually happen, and I was sat in the closing ceremony with all my friends, and I was like, yeah… I did it.
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