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Rachael Latham

SSI Err

Q & A

Q. Who do you think will be the star of the 2012 Paralympics?  
A. Lee Pearson! He has won nine Paralympic gold medals - winning all three disciplines in the three Paralympics he competed in between 2000 and 2008. He has also won six World Championship and three European titles. If he could take all three gold medals in London he would move one ahead of Tanni Grey-Thompson's record of 11 golds at the Games. Pearson's medals are all individual golds, which I believe makes it that extra bit special. Pearson has always dreamt of knighthood...this accomplishment might just sway the Queen to make his dream a reality.  

Q. Which event – or which athlete – are you most looking forward to watching and why?  
A. I am most looking forward to the SB6 100m breaststroke. The top three girls are all in with a fighting chance to pick up the gold. Charlotte Henshaw (GB) is the European and BT Paralympic World Cup champion, Mallory Weggerman (USA) is the world champion and Liz Johnson (GB) is Paralympic champion. Over the last four years all three athletes have battled it out to touch the wall first and each time a different swimmer has picked up gold. Personally, I'm hoping for a dead heat (both touch for gold at the same time) between the two Brits. Unlikely - but not impossible.

Q. Which of the ParalympicsGB team do you think will surprise us?  
A. Natalie Jones will surprise us...she is the Paralympic gold medalist in the 200m individual medley from Athens 2004. In the final in Beijing she lost her title, I watched from the stands as her hat and goggles came off during the race. Since Beijing her team-mate and rival Ellie Simmonds has beaten Jones at the Worlds and Europeans so Jones is going in as the underdog. I believe Nat has the experience and determination to come back and reclaim her Paralympic title. Just to add to it, I heard from Natalie herself that she is going to drastic measures to ensure her hat does not come off again...shaving her head is a discussed option, how would her husband feel about this!

Q. What aspect of covering the Paralympics are you most excited about?  
A. The swimming, of course, as it is my sport. I will feel at home on that hot, humid and sweaty poolside... actually on second thoughts...

Q. What is your biggest fear about the Games?  
A. I know these athletes have dedicated blood, sweat and tears into training, competition and their personal lives since London won the bid in 2005, and my biggest fear is that some of them don't achieve what they have dreamt of achieving. I am behind these athletes 110% and I don't want to see them fall at the last hurdle (even though there are no hurdles in the Paralympics).

Q. Tell us something about another member of the C4Paralympics team.  
A. Even though I have been given the title as the 'gossip' of the team, I know when a secret is a secret so I am sorry to say, you're not getting anything too juicy out of me here....(even if there might be stuff to spill)!   

Q. The GB team won 42 golds last time, how many will they get at London 2012?  
A. At every Games there are surprise wins and surprise losses. For sure, in some areas we will improve but I am going to be realistic and say previous titles will also be lost. Therefore, I am going to stick to hitting 42 again.

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