Wow! It’s the scandal of the year already, and everyone is talking about it – no it’s not the crisis in Gaza, it’s about the new year’s honours list. There’s a particular st0rm in the North East about my omission from the list, as so many Olympians and Paralympians were honoured. The Sunday Sun ran with a story about it, after Tanni Grey-Thompson alledgedly made comments about the inequalities of the honours system. To some people it may look like I’m banging my own drum and stirring things up, but apart from writing a quite sarcastic Facebook status after the list was announced, I haven’t done a lot. I guess it’s very nice to see how much people value my achievements – especially in my very own north east. However much getting an honour would be a tremendously great thing for me, it isn’t something I aspire to achieve as I set my aims against things within my control – namely my performances. Any awards that come my way are an unexpected bonus, so I would never try to campaign to get an award, although I can’t stop others from campaigning for me.
I must admit I was surprised at the number of Olympians and Paralympians on the honours list, and like others, I worried that a very big rod had been made for the Government’s back – especially as for many of the athletes honoured Beijing was either their first games or their first success at a games. I don’t think the honours system should be devalued, but that is what is happening because we are in a situation where every Olympic/Paralympic gold medallist expects to be honoured now, regardless of their career or service to sport in general – surely that isn’t right.
Nearly every day I think about the competition in Beijing and how things would have been different for me had I managed to win. But the more I think about it, I don’t think it would’ve been much different – as Tanni said, only multi-gold medallists from the Paralympics were honoured. Tanni was also correct in saying that being in the public eye helps, more and more the honours are becoming a politically motivated tool. Yet that still doesn’t stop it chewing me up inside, I’m an extremely competitive person and hate losing anything – even mini golf on the Wii – so losing in the Paralympics hurt like hell, even though it was a great performance.
I’d like to thank all the people who continue to support me, your support gives me extra strength and belief to go on to better things. It’s been a tough time lately both in and out of sport, but I’m determined to come out of it stronger and hungrier than ever.