Sophia is a 38-year-old mother of two who has Cerebral Palsy and is currently ranked number 1 in Europe and number two in the world in her discipline. In an interview with the Telegraph she explained her ambitions for her first ever Paralympic Games: “I’m on a mission to educate people about cerebral palsy. Attitudes to disabled athletes have moved on a bit, but us cerebral palsy crew get a hard time because so little is known about CP and often it is combined with a speech defect and learning difficulty.”
She’s frank about the perceptions of disabled athletes and the challenges that they have to overcome every day, not just when they’re competing on the track; “I have had a really difficult life, but if one more person tells me I’m an inspiration... The inspiring thing is that I’ve had the guts to do what I wanted to do, not that I’ve got a disability. I can hardly walk straight and yet I’ve chosen to be an athlete.”
Sophia doesn’t just have to tackle the physical challenges of sprinting, this focused woman had to also ensure that when she gave up her job as a marketing controller to concentrate on training for the Games, she and her family would be able to survive financially. And she did it, by targeting family-friendly brands like P&G and Boots for sponsorship. In another interview, she said, “I sent 500 emails to potential sponsors in the 10 days after I quit my job. I'm one of only a handful of mums going to London 2012.”
This is the thing about athletes – they simply refuse to give up, no matter what obstacle is thrown in their path. She might not want to be called ‘an inspiration’, but that’s exactly what Sophia Warner is.
Picture Credit: Rex Features