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Georgie Thompson:

Inspirational start

Special Report tells the tale of two remarkable sportsmen

Georgie Thompson Posted 13th August 2011 view comments

Welcome to my new blog! Every week I'll be posting a piece on our Sky Sports News Special Report.

It's just under a year to go until the London Paralympics gets underway, so this week we focus on two remarkable athletes going for gold in 2012...

Last weekend I was taking my favourite way to spend a Sunday for granted, enjoying a fry-up and leisurely making my way through the Sunday papers.

Inspitational: Peter Norfolk is the world number one

Inspitational: Peter Norfolk is the world number one

During the week I read newspapers back to front starting with the sports pages and finishing up with the cover but on a Sunday there is nothing I like more than to leaf my way lazily through the supplements before getting round to anything remotely work-related.

So after ploughing my way through a substantial plate of bacon, eggs and toast and having exhausted all other options I settled on the sports sections. And there I found an extraordinary extract from Engage, a new book by Matt Hampson and Paul Kimmage and as it turned out, one of the most moving pieces of journalism I've read for a long time.

Peter Norfolk is currently the world number one wheelchair tennis player. Steve Brown is captain of the Great Britain wheelchair rugby team. Neither have let disability hamper their desire to be the best they can at what they do.

Georgie Thompson
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Most of you will probably know Matt's story by now; a rugby scrum collapsing, a neck dislocation and then paralysis and a lifetime of coping with what happened that March morning in 2006 to change things forever.

The motto Matt chooses to live by these days is: "Get busy living or get busy dying". He chooses life and all the challenges that brings. So do the two paralympians we feature in this week's Special Report.


Peter Norfolk and Steve Brown are two men of different generations with similar disabilities who share the same attitude as each other and Hampson.

Let me tell you a bit about Peter. He's 50 years old, a successful businessman, plays tennis and likes walking his dog. He's also a quadriplegic. A motorcycle accident in 1979 left him with a broken back and a long spell in Stoke Mandeville Hospital. He has a wife and two children.

And what about Steve Brown? Well he's 29, by some reports a bit of a 'ladies man', he plays rugby and trains in the gym seven days a week. He's a tetraplegic.

Five years ago he fell off a balcony. It was not a particularly high one, but he landed awkwardly and afterwards felt nothing.

He doesn't remember much of what happened in the weeks that immediately followed but he does recall asking a doctor if he was going to die - and the doctor telling him he didn't know.

He didn't die but he would never live the same carefree life again either, he had to adapt and adjust. Again Stoke Mandeville Hospital played its invaluable part in that rehabilitation process just as it had decades earlier with Peter.

Peter is currently the world number one wheelchair tennis player. Steve is captain of the Great Britain wheelchair rugby team.

Neither have let disability hamper their desire to be the best they can at what they do.

In this week's Special Report you'll get an insight into the lives of these extraordinary men who have used sport to help them heal physically and mentally. Two truly inspirational stories about two truly inspirational individuals.

I wish them every success at London 2012 and beyond.

Join me on the Special Report, Mondays at 7.30pm on Sky Sports News HD channel 405. If you forget to Sky + our weekly report you can always catch it on Sky Anytime and follow me on twitter @officiallyGT.

Comments (1)

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Simon Redshaw says...

Great article, Georgie. I am sure these guys Peter Norfolk and Steve Brown will be a great inspiration to many. I hope to see the Paralympics. I never ceased to be amazed by those folks courage and ability and inspiration to do the things they do with the disabilities they have. Its interesting that you also mention Matt Hampson. At Leicester Tigers, the team I support, he is more then a hero. I take my hat off to Matt for what he does and the attitude he has to life. What a bloke he is! I have helped out myself in buying Matt Hampson sold things.

Posted 09:49 15th August 2011

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