Q&A: BT Life
2nd August 2011 - BT Life
Read an extract from Paralympic champion Liz Johnson’s Q&A for the BTLife website.
Who, in your opinion, is the greatest ever athlete and why?
There are so many, I’d have to say Rodger Federer and Rafa Nadal for all that they’ve achieved in tennis, Jessie Owens and of course Michael Phelps.
I don’t think people generally understand how much Michael has achieved. Often you hear people say that he’s won more medals because there are more events in swimming, but really he’s had to go out and beat all of those rivals and he’s beaten them hands down.
How do you think the Olympics and Paralympics will benefit the UK?
Obviously it will provide so many different people the opportunity to get involved. From competitors to volunteers and spectators, to be able to see the Olympic and Paralympic Games in real life in front of you will be fantastic.
I hope that it shows those watching that athletes are just normal people with dreams like anyone else. Hopefully that in its own right will inspire people to pursue their own dreams in whatever walk of life.
I also think that the new facilities built specifically for London 2012 will also help encourage people to get involved after the Games.
Which events are you most looking forward to seeing?
I’m obviously looking forward to the swimming but I’m a general sports fan and all the events will be great to watch. I’d quite like to go and see the gymnastics as it isn’t a Paralympic sport.
I found it quite difficult in Beijing in 2008 to find the time to watch any of the Olympics as that is my training time before the Paralympics start a few days later.
Who is your inspiration?
My love of sport is my inspiration, when you really enjoy what you do it spurs you on. I personally don’t feel like I’ve reached my full potential so it’s quite exciting to see where I can go from here.
As soon as I knew the 2012 Olympics were going to be coming to London it was a huge push in terms of encouragement, but then I enjoy competing wherever I am.
How do you deal with nerves?
If you aren’t nervous I don’t think you’re ready. Every athlete gets nervous but it’s how you deal with the nerves that matters. As I’ve got older and more mature I have definitely learnt to deal with them better. When you hear the whistle and then the gun you just have to get on with your job.