Craving milk and racking up a hefty Amazon bill are just some of the unexpected side effects of being a double Paralympic gold medallist. Georgie Hermitage won T37 100m and 400m gold in Rio, but is now settling in to life back in Alton and not even thinking about heading back to training….yet. And after spending the last three years focussed on her single sporting goal, gold at the Paralympic Games, she is now at a loss as to what to do with herself.
“It feels weird being back at home. It’s strange that for the last three and a bit years I’ve had this focus, and goal, that keeps you quite regimented,“ said Georgie, who benefitted from being a SportsAid athlete in 2014 and 2015. “But now you come home and everyone says ‘rest’ so you find yourself going to coffee shops, sitting there, twiddling your thumbs and spending ridiculous amounts of money on Amazon because you’ve got nothing else to do.
“It just doesn’t feel completely real yet, but I’m sure that in a few days, and when I get back into training, that will go back to normal. The best thing about being home is obviously family, having my daughter, Tilly, back, and having a proper cup of tea with real milk in it – that is insanely good when you’ve lived off UHT for a month.”
Georgie only took up Paralympic sport in the wake of watching the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. She had given up athletics at a young after a coach encouraged her to compete in disability sport, due to her cerebral palsy, but was inspired by Mo Farah’s Olympic success and she now wants to have her own London moment at next year’s IPC World Athletics Championships.
“Next year at the Worlds would be my 2012 moment,” she added. “Four years ago I was standing in the crowd, just watching, so to be able to step foot on that track – it will be as close as I get in my career to that London Paralympic moment. “Hopefully we’ll have some big crowds and everyone will get behind it and it will be a little piece of 2012 again.
“Tokyo 2020 was never in my thoughts, originally. When I first took it up it was Rio and then finish, but that is no way going to happen now. Obviously London 2017 is the target now, and, body willing, I’ll then take it year on year. But Tokyo would be amazing and I feel like I’d love to be able to defend my titles, but it just depends whether I’m competitive enough.”
SportsAid is the national charity that helps the next generation of British sporting superstars, helping them with financial support and recognition during the early stages of their careers.
At the recent Rio Paralympic Games, SportsAid alumni won 104 of ParalympicsGB’s 147 medals, with 65% of the team having received support from the charity. Georgie was one of those athletes and received support from the charity, in partnership with the Royal Bank of Canada, to help her cover the costs of training and competition.
“SportsAid support was essential for me in those first couple of years,” she said. “Between being a parent and trying to juggle the bills, and just being able to afford to put petrol in the car, it would’ve been a struggle.
“They were crucial for me and hopefully the money I received to give me a boost, can go to someone else and give them a boost too. SportsAid is all about bringing through new talent, and supporting it before the major funding comes in. And every little bit really does help.”
You can make a real difference to the next generation of British athletes heading for Tokyo 2020 and beyond by getting involved in SportsAid Week – a brand new fundraising initiative taking place from Monday 26 September to Sunday 2 October 2016.