I’m hopeful that they have but I’m not completely convinced. It’s certainly done something - the buzz that was around following the Olympics and the Paralympics was extraordinary! I felt it was a bit of an idyllic moment during the fortnight of the Paralympics as suddenly it wasn’t about heroic stories or the challenges these athletes faced, it was all about sport and Channel 4 made them into sports stars. I was traveling around on public transport and on my bike during the Paralympics and I really felt that the look on people’s faces when they saw me was quite a different look to normal - people were just looking at me as a human being, which was quite a revelation! I felt much more of an equal then I might have felt when they looked at me in the past.
I wouldn’t say that has carried through entirely but I think some of it will stay and it was quite profound. It’s certainly not been a revolution but it has certainly bought to people’s attention the fact that disabled people actually exist, I think some people go through their lives thinking they’ve never met a disabled person. I think it also helped to bring to people’s attention that disabled people do participate in sports, although there is a danger that people will think you’re either a superstar Paralympian or nothing. I would hope that, if nothing else, the parents of disabled kids today now have quite a different view as to what their child might one day achieve or may be able to access. Their child is unlikely to be a Paralympian but they are able to enjoy sport and take part. Hopefully it will push more parents on to say “well you’ve got a basketball club here so where’s the wheelchair basketball team?” So yes I think that things have changed and there’s a lot more awareness but it’s now down to sports providers and sports clubs to take up the challenge and if they do there’s great hope for everybody.