Lee Pearson enthused by Paralympic Games
Last Updated: 04/09/12 6:57am
Lee Pearson: Inspired by the experience in London
Great Britain's dressage riders are on course to make London their most successful Paralympic Games in history.
Three more medals in the final three freestyle events on Tuesday - they are being contested by Sophie Wells, Deb Criddle and Sophie Christiansen - will take Britain past their total medal haul of 10 at the Beijing Games four years ago.
Eight medals, including four golds, have already been secured - and it will be a surprise if three more podium finishes are now not collected.
And Lee Pearson, who will leave London with gold, silver and bronze medals that he can add to his nine golds achieved over three previous Paralympics, has been enthused by the whole experience.
"I think this is going to inspire disabled children and adults to get into sport," he said.
"It is also amazing when able-bodied adults and children come up to me and say we've changed their perception of disabled people and inspired them to do sport as well.
"We have the can-do factor, and us doing what we do I think inspires people to just try that little bit harder, whether they are able-bodied or disabled.
"When I go into the restaurant at the Paralympic village, I am also inspired. There could be 1,000 people eating at one time, and the majority of them are disabled.
"All this abnormality just becomes normal. One of the helpers said to me on the train the other day 'why can't daily life just be like a Paralympic Games where everyone is feeling happy and inspired?'
"We just pray that people are still talking about the London Games in a couple of months' time, and it doesn't just finish. Let's just hope the legacy carries on."
Pearson has vowed that he will hit the road to Rio de Janeiro in 2016 after ending his Paralympics campaign one gold medal short of joining an exclusive British sporting club.
The 38-year-old from Staffordshire was beaten into third place by Grade Ib freestyle winner, Austrian Pepo Puch, while Finland's Katja Karjalainen took silver.
Pearson picked up a 10th career gold in the team competition, but any chance of joining former wheelchair athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and swimmer David Roberts on 11 golds will now have to wait another four years.
But there was more British gold on the dressage event's penultimate day, when 22-year-old Natasha Baker captured her second Paralympic title in 48 hours by dominating Grade II freestyle.
Baker said: "This just feels amazing. I never imagined that at my first Games in London I would go home with two gold medals. It's incredible. I don't know what to say to be honest, and that doesn't happen a lot."