2 Paralympic gold medals; Rachael Morris has a new challenge in her sights

2 Paralympic gold medals; Rachael Morris has a new challenge in her sights

Morris already has her place in Paralympic history, winning Great Britain’s first-ever handcycling gold in Beijing 2008, followed by a bronze four years later in London 2012 Paralympics.

In 2016 at Rio Paralympics, she switched to water and rowing, where she won single sculls gold, but suffered an injury that kept her in the hospital for almost 2 years, also ending her rowing career.


“Being in hospital taught me the extreme highs from being on the podium as a Paralympic champion to the lows not being able to do anything, even sitting up in bed, because I couldn’t use my body to get me up. It was incredibly hard and nearly broke me.”


After coming out of the hospital, Morris believed her sporting career was at an end, but a chat with former rowing team-mate turned Nordic skier Scott Meenagh helped her find a new challenge. Now, at 39, Morris says “I’ve always wanted to do a winter sport and the opportunity just came along,” changing sports once again, she was the first woman to represent Great Britain at the World Para-Nordic Skiing Championship in Canada, which ended on 24th February.


“Part of me wondered if I was stupid for wanting to start at the bottom again, but the other part of me was saying it was a great opportunity and I should give it a go and see what happens.’I fell in love with it’”


Morris’ return to elite sport is even more remarkable after she spent eleven and a half months in hospital after the 2016 Paralympics recovering from two shoulder operations which led to the end of her rowing career.


It was the toughest of times for Morris for whom sport is a key part of her life and survival.


As a teenage runner, she damaged her ankle on a dry ski slope and developed a condition known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which causes her body to reject its own injured limbs and results in constant pain. It meant most of her legs have been gradually amputated and she uses sport as a way of controlling the pain.


“The sport is what kept me going. I know I won’t be an elite athlete forever, but I also know that physical activity will always be a big part of my life because it is a way of coping – it’s a way of giving me headspace and of dealing with things.


“Once I do retire completely, I will still be doing a certain amount of sport in a day to be able to manage my condition.

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