There is rarely anything to cheer about when I zap on the nightly news. More of our heroes killed in Afghanistan, car crashes, floods, drought, but as a former journalist, I am a bit of an addict. (I usually watch two networks.) Last night I only needed one network to make me cry, cheer, and celebrate the extraordinary human spirit. The Paralympics now have taken London’s center stage, and with the competition, hundreds of heart-breaking stories, and magnificent come-backs.
In 2005 Martine Wiltshire, was so proud that her glorious city would get the 2012 Olympic games, she celebrated, slept in, and took a different route to work. One minute, the underground – the tube, was crowded with people smiling about winning the Olympics, the next, Wiltshire’s world exploded. Suicide bombers had boarded the tube, and loosed hell. The tube became a mass of twisted, broken, steel that held bleeding, and dying people who were just trying to get to work.
The blast tore Martine’s life to pieces.
She barely lived losing both legs. That scarcely slowed her down. She told NBC that she had two choices, to lie down and never walk again, or get up and go on with life.
And go on she did, with an extraordinary tour de force for living. She got married, became a mom, and is now a star athlete at the Paralympic Games.
Martine plays sit down volleyball.
And do not get in her way! She plays like a barracuda – tenacious, but with an extraordinary spirit, and gratefulness to be exactly who she is.
The news ended and I felt like I knew I had just witnessed something extraordinary. I had been introduced to a most extraordinary woman, a determined athlete. By Connie Timpson
Performance Coach and author of “You Are Extraordinary.”