Posted: Friday, 21st September 2012
Sarah Storey and husband Barney with Student president Ben Atkins and officers Hannah Templeman, Laura Ramli and Stan Asomaning
RECORD-breaking Paralympian Sarah Storey says she saved her first glass of champagne since her four gold medals at London 2012 to share with Dennis Dunn and the MMU Cheshire team.
Sarah, who won gold in the C5 Pursuit, the Time Trial C4-5 500m, the Individual Road Time Trial C5 and the Individual Road Race C4-5, trained three times a week in the Department for Exercise and Sport Science altitude chamber in the run up to the Games, which she said made an “incredible difference” to her athletic performance.
She said: “The University has played such a huge role in my training this year so it seemed fitting to save my first glass of champagne to have with Dennis.”
Sarah and her husband, fellow Paralympian Barney Storey, were attending a gala banquet to celebrate 100 years of education on the site of MMU Cheshire. The couple were given honorary doctorates by the faculty in 2009 and have been sponsored by the Faculty for the past three years.
She said it was their first “evening off” since the end of the Games, which saw Sarah become the joint greatest Paralympian of all time, with her tally of eleven gold medals across the two disciplines of swimming and cycling equalling the number won by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and David Roberts.
Compared to the strict discipline of preparing for London 2012, Sarah said that celebrating her “new found responsibility as most decorated Paralympian” was a much more unstructured affair.
“It’s been a whirlwind but a fantastic one and something you don’t prepare for in any way,” she said. “It’s a complete contrast to the Paralympics themselves which were so organised. We’re just maximising the opportunity to celebrate with as many people as possible. So many people have written to us and sent emails; it has been amazing to see the response.”
She added that both she and Barney hoped to continue their relationship with MMU Cheshire in the run-up to Rio 2016.
“The University has been incredibly supportive and the links we have here with Dennis Dunn and John Brooks are very special to both Barney and I.
“We haven’t really had chance to reflect on the next year – now is the time to enjoy the less structured part of the sport – but Rio is the end goal. You work in four year cycles so we will be putting together a plan for that.”