Rodgers vows not to be knocked off course
8th September 2011 - The Times
What is remarkable about Susie Rodgers is not that she burst from nowhere to win five gold medals at the IPC European Swimming Championships this summer - but that she swims, very fast, in a straight line.
"You'd think with limbs missing on the left side, I'd veer off," said Rodgers. "A lot of coaches have said, 'We haven't figured out how or why you keep to that straight line.'"
I see the practical use of it. I hang bags on it and I use it with the keyboard at work.
It is not immediately obvious that Rodgers has missing limbs. Her trousers hide the false leg with its metal knee joint and her silicon arm in slender.
"People sometimes don't notice," she said. "I always wear an arm but a lot of upper-arm amputees don't bother.
"Living in London makes it difficult to walk down the street and have people looking all the time.
"When I'm swimming, the limbs are off. A lot of the team wanted to know why I wear the arm; was I ashamed?
"I'm not but I see the practical use of it. I hang bags on it and I use it with the keyboard at work."
Rodgers works for the British Council, for which she runs a language teaching exchange programme. lt was finding a career that she enjoys and feels settled in that allowed her to give swimming competitively a proper chance.
When I couldn't do something, my mum would emphasise what I could do.
She agrees she has emerged from obscurity to become a potential star at next year’s Paralympics.
As with many disabled competitors Rodgers was encouraged to behave like any child the same age.
“My parents wanted me to be as natural and normal as possible," she said. “My mum was determined to get me to behave in an independent way.
"Whenever I couldn't do something, she would emphasise what I could do. So, when I couldn't carry on with ballet, she directed me to horse riding."