Sophie Morgan: The public's response has driven our athletes to even greater heights

The most exciting thing is we'll all have a better understanding of disability

I've been interviewing the parents and families of the athletes and it's been amazing to hear some of the stories of the competitors and to learn about where they've come from. The level of support they need is much more than I imagined. The athletes have a lot to deal with in their everyday lives, apart from the training and dedication they need to compete. So it's great to see mums and dads enjoying their success with them.

We met Sophie Warner's husband and their two children. They are the most gorgeous family unit. Sophie has cerebral palsy, which affects the motor control of her limbs. She competes in the 100 and 200 metres. Because it is difficult for her to control her limbs, her husband, Haydn, trains with her every day. She runs beside him and is able to feel the rhythm from him. It's amazing to know they do that.

The public response to the Games has been incredible. I'm not surprised that Channel 4 has had record viewing figures. I didn't expect it, but I did hope. They've been talking about disability in the most down-to-earth and natural way. I know that they didn't want to hide from anything; they wanted to be as blunt and honest as they could. So I knew it was going to be ground-breaking.

It's interesting to think about the psychological side of sport. You can't overestimate the importance for these athletes of having, for the first time, so many spectators, rather than just their trainers and family watching. There are no words for the effect it has on them and their performance. Half of them have never competed in front of a crowd. I don't know how it feels in the Olympic Stadium to have the crowd erupt like that. The support for Derek Derenalagi – the discus thrower who lost his legs in Afghanistan – was wonderful even though he missed out on a medal.

I think the different classifications can be confusing at first, but the more people watch, the more they learn about them. I do agree with Stef Reid, however, who said it was "disappointing" to break the world long jump record and still win only silver because of the points system. I have heard a number of athletes complain about how the classifications can make their race more difficult. It needs to be looked at. But the discussion is part of the maturing of the Games. I'm much more interested in the way that we will all have a much better understanding of disability afterwards. That's the most exciting thing in all of this. And I'm looking forward to more tears of joy, and more medals, next week.

Sophie Morgan is a Paralympics presenter for Channel 4

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum