I’m expecting the usual family deluge. And mates. And huge amounts of food. And drinks. And the dog attacking the tree and my son opening far too many presents. And laughs. And if I remember Christmas 2005, when I thought my life was over after the London bombing, it won’t be for long and it won’t have the power to hurt me.
I’ll watch the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and only the delight of winning the Helen Rollason Award in 2012, after the London Paralympics, will come back to me, not the dark days that went before. I’ll remind myself of all the times I’ve been asked, as a sportswoman, who was my inspiration. And I’ll look round the room and see them all here right beside me.
It was never a sporting figure that inspired me, if I’m honest. It was my family. My mum, who held my face in her hands, looked me in the eyes and instilled in me the belief that life could still have meaning even though I’d lost my legs. “You’re still Martine!” she said. My lovely husband, my son, my dad, my brother and sister, my wider family, my friends, the NHS and my wonderful physio, Maggie.
I realise now that it was as much for them as me that I as bursting with pride when I sat on that volleyball court for the first time at the Paralympics. It was my way of saying: “You see, after all the desperate times we’ve been through, life’s not so bad, is it? In fact, we’re happy and we’re achieving together things that I would never have dreamt possible.”
I’ll never forget that moment. I have it captured forever in a framed picture on our wall at home. My son, Oscar, sitting on his dad’s shoulders in the Excel Arena holding up a sign saying: “Go, Mummy, Go!” And family and friends sitting all around – my mum in tears of happiness, my dad with the biggest banner in the world. They were, and are, my inspiration.
MARTINE WRIGHT, MBE
Captain of the GB Sitting Volleyball Team
To read the first chapter – the day of the bombing – from Martine’s autobiography, Unbroken, published in 2017 by Simon & Schuster and Nominated for the title “Autobiography of the Year” in the Sports Book Awards: click here.
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