sport

Storey proud of Paralympians

Sarah Storey believes the nominations of three Paralympians for BBC Sports Personality of the Year shows how London embraced the Games.

Swimmer-turned-cyclist Storey won four London 2012 gold medals and is joined on the 12-person shortlist for the prestigious award by wheelchair racer David Weir, who also won four titles, and 18-year-old swimmer Ellie Simmonds, who won two.

Storey's Paralympic career began in Barcelona in 1992 as a swimmer and she won five gold medals in the pool before switching to the bike ahead of the Beijing Games. She now has the same number of Games titles as Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who was before London considered Britain's most recognised Paralympian and was third in Sports Personality in 2000.

Storey said: "I've won things in the past and never even been close to the shortlist. It was completely unexpected.

"It's just amazing and I feel I'm up there representing quite a few people - I'm the only female cyclist up there.

"It shows how far Paralympic sport has come. At the same age as Ellie I had five gold medals, was interviewed on the show (in 1996), but was nowhere near the shortlist.

"To see that change over the last 16 years just makes me incredibly proud of everything."

Storey, who along with Weir was Britain's flagbearer for the Paralympic closing ceremony on September 9, believes London demonstrated the power of the Paralympics.

"Everything the Paralympics has been over the last 20 years that I've been involved has now been shared with everybody," she said.

"People realise now what we've all been so enthralled with. It's just an incredible event in its own right that everyone's been able to share with us."

Despite her father's supermarket trip taking longer than usual after being stopped by people promising to vote for her, Storey is realistic about her prospects of returning home to Cheshire with the famous trophy on December 16.

She said: "I'm under no illusions I'm probably going to be nowhere near the top five; I'm just delighted to be a part of it and to be able to stand on stage as one of the final 12 and thank everybody for their support."