Balance for better
8 March 2019
Happy International Women's Day! This year we caught up with two time Paralympian world champion Olivia Breen about what ‘Balance for Better’ means to her.
I loved every minute of the occasion and really enjoyed meeting the people involved with the charity.
I was particularly struck with the hashtag ‘Actually, I can’ because I always try to be as independent as possible.
Nothing makes me happier
I am a twin and I was born seven weeks prematurely. When I was a few days old I was diagnosed with a meningitis type illness which left me with cerebral palsy.
I am also deaf and have some learning difficulties. I was late reaching all my milestones but I always wanted to do whatever my twin, Dan, was doing.
When I eventually was able to walk I found running much easier and have loved it ever since! Nothing makes me happier!
I always found school hard but loved sports day. At my first sports day in infants’ school I won my race and everyone was really shocked — they never expected it because I struggled with most other things — I loved the feeling of running and even more of winning!
Finding my feet
Loving sport really helped my co-ordination when I was little and had a huge impact on my life from a young age.
I have always been in an athletics club and joined City of Portsmouth Athletics Club when I was 13. I loved training and competing with my friends there, and even though I was usually at the back of the field, I was really happy.
When I was 15 I went to Talent Day with British Athletics. I didn’t really want to go but I am so glad that I did.
I had never really met other people with cerebral palsy and it was so good being in a competitive environment with people with similar conditions to mine.
I had no idea how competitive I was as a disabled athlete and in my first competition after being classified I was ranked first in my class (T38) in the UK.
It was unbelievable! Six months later I was lining up on the podium at London 2012 and even more amazingly I won a bronze medal as part of the T35-8 relay team.
What I need to keep being me
Sport has led my life in a direction I never imagined.
Keeping my body healthy is really important to me and is also really important to my mental well-being.
Being in the fresh air and being active is what I need to keep me being me!
This year's theme is #BalanceForBetter — better the balance, better the world. Join in the conversation by using the hashtag on your social media.