What made you sign up for Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins?
I think as an athlete, you love any sort of challenge. I definitely love pushing myself, and I get so upset if there's something I can't do. Just because that's my personality, I might not be perfect at everything, but I like to give it a good go and know I gave my best. So, for me, it seemed like a challenge that was a tad more challenging than my own sport, and something that I completely had no knowledge of or any past experience. So it was just a case of going out there into the unknown, and just seeing if I could do it.
Did you want to push the boundaries of what someone might expect a person with disabilities can achieve?
Definitely. I mean I've got the utmost respect anyway for people who go through my own athletic training, SAS training, military training, or just even pushing themselves outside their own comfort zones by going on a show like Strictly. You go on TV, you've got millions of people watching and you've never done this before. So, this was a similar feeling. I went on Strictly to change perceptions and show people that, actually, you can do whatever you want and if there was something else that I could follow up with to show even more of that, then it’s this show. I mean this is the total opposite of Strictly - there's no glitter, there's no glam. It's grit factor! I wanted to show people that just your true grit and determination can get you really far, in a lot of different areas. It comes down to how much you want something and how much you believe in yourself.
How did you find it physically?
I actually don’t think that it's that different from my own path of training. You don't get to go to an Olympic games just because you're good at sport. You have to be willing to push yourself and to be in the hurt locker more than you are in the celebrations and everything that comes after it if you do well. So, for me, I can lock into that athlete mindset of, "You know, this is going to hurt but it's only a temporary pain and you'll get through it”. I really said from the beginning that I didn't want to be treated as different because then what's the point? Someone can ask me if I need help with something and I'm like, "Um, no." I'm always like that. Obviously, if it's something that I can do but that someone else can help me do a bit more efficiently and quickly and I don't want to hold anyone else up, then yes. That was something that I would accept because you're part of the team at the end of the day. I wanted this challenge for me not for anybody else but if that helps people at home to think, "Wow, you know what? No excuses, let’s go?" Then that's cool with me!
How did you feel about being screamed at by Ant and the DS?
That part of it didn't phase me, purely because that's very similar to the sporting world. You've got coaches screaming at you in the pool then like, “Ok now give me 10 press-ups”. It’s like, "Oh, okay, fine." But when you've come up from a sporting childhood and the world of sport where, if my coach doesn't tell me what I'm doing wrong or give me criticism, I'm never going to become nearly the athlete I am. I have to accept that. In order to get up there, you have to accept your failures and your weaknesses. So, I'm very used to being criticised and not being punished as such, like press-ups and holding feet in the air, but beasted in an athletic sense. So, for me, it was quite exciting because I felt like I was in the same world I had come from, just more intense!
What did you make of the others celebs on the course?
It's quite interesting, because the first time you all sit in a ring together, you're all sort of looking at each other and we had quite a great array of people from different areas, which was really nice. And things that you may have thought about people before, or seen on social media and stuff, actually, getting to meet these people you realise there’s more to them than you think you’ve seen.
What challenges did you enjoy?
I actually really enjoyed all the water ones. I do have a massive fear of open water, which is strange, being a triathlete. But, I do have a fear there. But because you were so focused on the task at hand, I didn't actually let the fear of open water get me. And obviously, I've never done things like abseiling or the walking down a cliff face, any of those. So, just the thought that I've done them is pretty cool.
Did the course change you physically?
I actually did come out of it pretty tough. Although it wasn't my normal kind of training, there were occasions we were soaked through and we had our bags on our back, we had a 5K run back to the base camp and I the whole way was thinking, "You know what? This is a 5K run in Tokyo. Just get on with it. Go”. I just applied it as though I was training for the games. So mentally it toughened me up and I think I actually came out a little bit leaner. I think that's because we were taken down to a very basic diet and you're sleep deprived and obviously you're still doing exercise. So, I just think that it helped me see off the excess off-season chubbiness I may have had! I mean, it's like perfect pre-season bootcamp!