The Unstoppable Libby Clegg: From Paralympic Sprint to Dancing on Ice
For gold-medal Paralympian, Libby Clegg this moment of pure accomplishment left her numb. But eventually it became was a turning point, one that led her to explore new avenues, take on new sports and reconnect with the parts of athletics that she had grown up relying on through thick and thin.
Double Paralympic champion Libby Clegg lifted the lid on her greatest sporting achievement - and it was not her two gold medals at Rio 2016.
Following a rocky road to Tokyo 2020, the 33-year-old revealed she felt most proud of her mixed 100m relay silver medal in Japan alongside Jonnie Peacock, Ali Smith and Nathan Maguire.
Clegg gave birth to her son Edward in 2019 and after making the final of Dancing On Ice, her preparations were curtailed by the pandemic.
The retired Paralympic trailblazer, who lives with Stargardt's macular dystrophy, always knew Tokyo would be the last time she would step foot onto a running track but admitted the journey to her final Paralympic Games always remained uncertain.
“My relay medal is probably the one that means the most to me but it’s just very different to Rio,” said Clegg, speaking to TV star and Olympian Sam Quek on the new series of The National Lottery’s podcast series, Amazing Starts Here.
“That medal meant most because I got to share it with other people, my mentality as an athlete has changed, from having Edward, I’m less selfish.
“I got off the back of Dancing on Ice, I’m in the best shape of my life, I had a baby a year ago, I’ve got six months until Tokyo and then in can retire and then Covid hit.
“I don’t know if many people know this but I actually didn’t make selection, it was only because someone else dropped out that I ended up being selected.”
Amazing Starts Here is an award-winning podcast by The National Lottery which features the stories of ordinary people who do extraordinary things with the help of £30 million raised every week for good causes by National Lottery players.
With the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games set to inspire people and communities across the country, Clegg hopes that by sharing her story it will give others motivation to get involved in sport.
Clegg swapped the athletics track for the velodrome in 2022 and won World Championship gold in the team sprint B after also making a Commonwealth Games appearance, coming fourth twice on the tandem.
She announced her retirement as an athlete earlier in the year and looks ahead to Paris with an eye for inspiring many others.
“I decided that earlier this year it’s the best decision for me and the best decision for Edward,” Clegg said.
“I love sport and I love being involved in sport, and as a retired athlete I’ve still got so much I can give back but ultimately Edward is my absolute priority.
On the growth of Paralympic sport, she added: “It’s only going to get better and bigger, seeing more athletes on TV or just disabilities more visible.
“It’s better for everyone just answering those questions that people feel too uncomfortable to ask.
"It’s nice to be a part of that movement and I do think 2012 is a big turning point for that.”
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