Olympic stars such as world track and field athlete Sally Pearson and Paralympic hopefuls like Kelly Cartwright are preparing for London with a series of joint competitions during this Australian summer. Both of them drew attention to themselves during the Qantas Australian Athletics Tour on 28 January in Adelaide. Pearson with two predominant wins in the 100 and 200 metres, Cartwright with a new world record for female transfemoral amputees in the 200 metres with a time of 35.98 seconds.
"Sport is my life," says 22-year-old Kelly Cartwright, who completes up to ten training sessions per week. Her right leg had to be amputated due to a rare form of cancer when she was 15. She has been participating in competitive sports with her prosthesis for five years. In Christchurch 2011, she became dual World Champion in the 100 metres and the long jump.
Beyond her medal ambitions for London 2012 and Rio 2016, she has set additional goals: "I want to make the public more aware of the topic of disability." This is why she talks about her experiences with competitive sports in schools "so that the children see that life continues, even after the worst events." She gives presentations on motivation, goes on hikes with other amputees or seeks extreme experiences, like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro as the first female with a transfemoral prosthesis in 2009.
Since 2011, Kelly Cartwright is a Paralympics Ambassador for Ottobock, the global market leader in prosthetics and provider of technical service since 1988 in Seoul and once again at the London 2012 games of the best disabled athletes in the world. Just like Heinrich Popow from Leverkusen and Russian native Svetlana Moshkovich alongside her, she is able to pave the way to sports for others in her function as Paralympics Ambassador by providing authentic information.
Kelly Cartwright knows from personal experience: "Uncertainty is the worst of all. Especially in the week before the amputation." This is why she works with the Australian Paralympic Committee to visit young Australian athletes facing an impending amputation. She is able to offer them memorable words like these: "Sport was important to me even before the amputation. But not as important as now."
Sports for disabled people is emancipating itself. Even in joint competitions with Olympic competitors in Australia.