Ben Rushgrove, 24, is a GB Paralympic athlete, going for Gold in 2012. A T36 sprinter, he’ll be running the 100m and 200m.
“Ben just says, ‘it’s my job’. For him it’s standard, he’s just putting into practice all the training and everything he’s practised for,” says Alison. “But for the rest of us, there’s nothing we can do, all we can do is cheer him on.”
“And it’s been such a great experience being a part of London 2012, because it’s a home Games, so I’ve been able to be more involved than ever before. I’ve met mums of the other athletes, which is brilliant because they really understand what it’s like. He’s injury-free at the moment,” his mum tells us. “This must be one of the only major tournaments that he has been, so that’s obviously really good!
“But at the same time, there is definitely a lot of pressure on the athletes,” she adds. “The whole country is sort of riding this wave, but there’s a lot of expectation from the Paralympians now. There’s also a lot of excitement and positivity. I think it’s a good thing really because obviously there was huge pressure on the Olympic athletes and the same desire for success runs through the Paralympics too, it’s integral rather than just a bonus. I think it’s good that the country seems to be so looking forward to it.”
The Rushgroves hail from Bath and the family is heading to London en masse to support Ben in his races. “David [Ben’s dad] and I really feel very humbled. It’s incredible, everyone in the family is going to be there that can be and loads of friends have told us they’re going and they’re rooting for Ben.
“It is pressurised so the last thing Ben wants is to talk to us about athletics. What we try to do is create a haven at home, where we don’t talk about any of the nitty gritty details he doesn’t need to worry about. He doesn’t want to think about any angst we might have about getting everyone in the family to London and tickets and all that. So we just keep those conversations away and just talk about normal things around the dinner table.
“We try to keep things relaxed and that’s how it’s always been and I definitely think it’s the best advice to parents who have a disabled child. You can’t force them to do anything you want them to do, they have to want to do it. Nurture their talent, take them to athletics meetings or whatever they’re interested in but let them do it at their own pace. Ben has always been determined, and they need that inner determination to succeed.”
We chatted to Alison courtesy of P&G; Thank You Mum.