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Charlotte’s Web: December Update

10th December 2012

Charlotte Henshaw is a European gold medallist, World Championship silver medallist, European record holder and at London 2012, won her first Paralympic medal with SB6 100m Breaststroke silver. In this blog, she talks about what she has been up to since the Paralympics and her hopes for the new season.

With the New Year approaching, I, like many others, have been reminiscing over what an amazing year this has been for sport in our country. We’ve seen two of the greatest sporting events ever being hosted right on our doorstep.

For me, London 2012 seems a million years ago: the flurry of activity that followed a successful home Paralympic and Olympic Games has caused time to fly by.

It’s been nearly three months since I headed home from the Paralympics, but every time I see a picture from the Games or someone starts talking about the how amazing it was, I still get a huge sense of pride. Not only to say that I witnessed it, but that I was lucky enough to take part in the biggest Paralympic Games in history.

London was absolutely incredible. Having had a rough time during the early months of 2012 – missing out on qualification and having an agonising wait to see if I would still be selected – I was determined to go and enjoy the once in a life-time experience of a home Paralympics, no matter what the outcome. I was fortunate enough to be a member of the home team and I wanted to enjoy it.

I was determined to go and enjoy the once in a life-time experience of a home Paralympics, no matter what the outcome.

Winning my silver medal in the SB6 100m Breaststroke is something I will never forget for the rest of my life. I can remember the exact feeling as I walked out into the Aquatic Centre for my final, with 17,500 people cheering.

I was lucky enough to be in Beijing in 2008 and I thought that nothing could match that, but walking out into that Aquatic Centre and seeing all the Union flags and GB supporters, I knew I was wrong. I was incredibly proud to be able to stand on the podium in front of my team mates, friends and family who have supported me throughout my career.

I took a few weeks out of the water to mentally and physically recover from the whole experience. I’ve been really enjoying visiting schools and attending events to try and carry on the legacy of London 2012.

There are so many kids who have been inspired by what we athletes achieved and it’s great to hear their enthusiasm about sport. Long may this continue! I also managed to squeeze in a holiday to New York with one of my university friends – although we ended up being there just as Hurricane Sandy hit the city. Great timing!

I really feel that what we showcased this summer has changed the perception of the Paralympic movement.

Last week, I posted a link to a Paralympic Games montage video on my Twitter and Facebook and the response it has had is incredible. People are still so proud of what Great Britain achieved this summer.

I know I was shocked at how the people of Britain embraced the Paralympic Games and I really feel that what we showcased this summer has changed the perception of the Paralympic movement and I really hope this enthusiasm carries on to support us on our way to the Worlds in Canada next year, Glasgow in 2014 and ultimately Rio in 2016.

I’ve been back in training now for about four weeks. It’s always tough getting back into training after a major competition so I was thankful I took time to have a break so that when I did get back into the pool, I was ready and raring to go for the next cycle.

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