A relationship under the microscope

BARNEY STOREY, 34, is a British cyclist who rides as a sighted pilot for blind or partially sighted athletes in tandem track cycling events. He won two gold medals at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing and was awarded the MBE in 2009. He married Sarah in 2007 and they live in Manchester

It took a while to pluck up the courage to ask Sarah out, but I wasn't nervous about proposing, that was easy. Cycling is my life and it was great that Sarah decided to go down that route, but if she'd stayed in swimming that would have been fine as well.

We're sporting anoraks, to be honest, so any sport is good in the Storey household. Training can be tough but at the same time I'm doing my hobby for a living and Sarah loves cycling as well, so we're in a privileged position. I think it makes it very easy when someone knows all the demands of your job and what you're going through. Sitting on the sofa after training, we'll talk about our days and talking it through with someone who knows the sport inside out is very helpful. We even set up a business together, Team Storey Sport, which specialises in motivational speaking and coaching.

In 2009 I was awarded the MBE and Sarah the OBE. Our ceremony was on the same day, which was great because you get three tickets each so it meant we could bring all our family. It's strange, when you're training you're ultimately aiming to win a race or achieve a certain time. But receiving one of those awards is something you never expect. It was unbelievable to get to Buckingham Palace and we had a big party afterwards. And so special because we got there together.


SARAH STOREY, 33, is a British swimmer, track and road cyclist. Born with an abnormality of the left hand, she won five gold medals in swimming at the Paralympics before transferring to cycling. She won two gold medals in cycling at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. In 2010, she became the first disabled cyclist to compete for England at the Commonwealth Games. She was awarded the OBE in 2009

I met Barney in April 2004 in Cyprus when I was still on the swim team. We met as team-mates of different sports. Then his apartment was directly above mine in the Olympic village at Athens later that year. I went down to the velodrome after Athens to learn to ride the track because I was curious, so we spent quite a bit of time together then. I carried on cycling because I had an ear infection and couldn't swim, saw more of him and eventually he asked me out about 11 months after we met.

I officially switched to cycling at the end of 2005 and as Barney is such an expert, it helped me become better quickly because he could tell me straight away if I was doing something wrong. His advice and support were crucial.

We don't train as much together any more. He's very powerful over a short distance, whereas my forte is endurance, so we're never together for long if we go riding. It's amazing to have a partner who is doing such a similar thing to you. I know a lot of athletes whose other halves aren't into sports and they have to find a compromise. Your career is really 24/7 and we're lucky that we can do this without it intruding on our relationship.

Sarah Storey is a Scottish Widows ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic Games