Thursday, 6 September 2012
Britain's Unsung - Most Decorated Paralympian
Most of the Scottish media will be reporting upon Alex Salmond's reshuffle this morning but I prefer to mention an unsung hero.
Mike Kenny (pictured) has won 16 gold medals in the Paralympics over the years yet few, if any, know of the unassuming swimmer.
Mr Kenny was paralysed in an accident in 1971 and although he was a keen swimmer beforehand, it was under Ludwig Guttermann at Stoke Mandeville, that he developed his competitive streak. He first represented Britain in the 1976 Toronto Games where he won three gold medals. Three more golds at Arnheim in 1980 with a further five - plus a silver - in the 1984 Paralympics increased his haul yet he replicated that feat in his last Games in Seoul in 1988.
There was no funding in those days and Mr Kenny's wife was his trainer.
This year the British Paralympic Association (BPA) contacted Mr Kenny to offer him tickets to the Games. This offer is made to all retired Paralympians, but the cost of organising his own transport to and from his home town of Manchester and accommodation in London proved prohibitive, so Mr Kenny decided to watch the action on television.
In a decade when six-times Olympics gold medalist received a knighthood and is to be given the freedom of Edinburgh, surely somehow the BPA could find the cash for Mr Kenny to visit the current London events and at least give a little back to Britain's most decorated Paralympian. It's the least they could do.