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Tanni-Grey Thompson speaks to BBC Sport Online
"I'm not looking forward to training"
 real 14k

Wednesday, 29 November, 2000, 13:32 GMT
Bright year for Grey
Tanni Grey-Thompson
Grey-Thompson was too good for the rest in Sydney
British Paralympic superstar Tanni Grey-Thompson MBE and OBE speaks exclusively to BBC Sport Online's Saj Chowdhury about her golden year.

Tanni Grey-Thompson is already a legend in the world of athletics.

Four golds in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m in Sydney took her total of Paralympics medals to 14 in four Games.

She has also added a further four London Marathon titles during a successful career.

The Welsh star picked up the Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration at the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year awards ceremony in London and spoke to BBC Sport Online about her remarkable season.

Matthew Pinsent
Pinsent was present at the awards ceremony

"It's been a fantastic year - I had been been concentrating on Sydney for the last 18 months," said Grey-Thompson.

"There were times last winter when I wondered whether it was really worth going to Sydney.

"The training was hard and not really interesting but I'm older and wiser and when I got to the Games I was really quite relaxed."

Relaxed as any athete can be taking into consideration that Sydney was the biggest stage she had ever competed on.

Financial benefits

Four events in two weeks, heats and finals and then to win them all was some achievement but the Welsh heroine added that it was not as strenuous as it sounded.

"Wheelchair racing is very much like cycling, so it's quite easy to cover a range of distances.

"For me to be a good sprinter I have to cover 150 miles per week and on the back of that I can turn out quite a good marathon.

There were times last winter when I wondered whether it was really worth going to Sydney
  Tanni Grey-Thompson
"And it's nice to do different events because if you are not doing well over one distance then you can make up for it in another event."

The Paralympics in Sydney were hailed as the greatest yet and Grey-Thompson explained that the sport's profile has improved because of the financial benefits it has received over the past few years.

"We're quite lucky being in a sport like wheelchair racing because we compete in high-profile events such as the London Marathon and the Great North Run.

Lottery funding has helped a great deal and has allowed athletes in full-time work to turn part-time which helps them concentrate more on training," she added.

Success has certainly helped Grey-Thompson. But she admitted that the post-Paralympics euphoria was almost over.

"I get back to training again on the treadmill in my garage. I'll then sneak away in January for a little bit of warm weather then come back and prepare for my 11th London Marathon," said the athlete.

"It's been phenomenal ever since I got back from Sydney but now I have to get back to training - something which I'm not looking forward to."

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See also:

24 Oct 00 |  Paralympics
Tanni captures third gold
27 Oct 00 |  Paralympics
Golden Tanni to call time
22 Oct 00 |  Paralympics
Tanni races to second gold
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