Now Reading
Freak accident knocks top lesbian Paralympian out of Rio

Freak accident knocks top lesbian Paralympian out of Rio

Claire Harvey

One of the LGBTI heroes of London 2012 won’t be travelling to Rio after a split-second accident saw her hand crushed.

Claire Harvey was part of the Great Britain women’s national sitting volleyball team at the last Olympics.

Since then she has been selected for the Paralympic athletics team after scoring high in shot put and javelin in the World Athletic Championships.

But now that dream is over, Gay Star News can reveal.

Harvey told us: ‘I broke my hand by a 6kg kettle bell falling off a shelf onto my hand whilst I was stretching. I was laid on my stomach and had my hands out in front on me. It fell and landed on the top of my hand.

‘My medical team, both in British athletics and those at home I regularly use were fab. We immediately started ice, elevation and anti-inflammatories.

‘The trouble with hands is they swell badly, so it’s hard to see what’s really wrong, even with X-ray.

‘The team kept reviewing it, even trying ultrasound but by Wednesday it was obvious it wasn’t healing sufficiently for me to be able to train and be at my peak for Rio.’

She told us her partner is helping her get through:

‘It was up and down – some reviews looked promising, next one wasn’t so good – a real emotional rollercoaster.

‘My partner Helen and friends were brilliant; keeping me to time with icing, driving me around to reviews and keeping me smiling as much as possible.’

Medal contender

And she has high hopes for TeamGB.

‘The athletics squad of TeamGB are really strong, I totally believe they will bring home many, many medals. Some people didn’t get selected despite being at the top of their event – that’s how strong it was.

‘So I have to hang on now to the fact that I was considered a strong enough contender for a medal to be selected.

‘I’m fighting hard to get to a point that I can watch the games and support my teammates without crying. I will get there but this is everything I’ve worked towards for two years and it disappeared in one split second.

‘That’s sport for you though – the massive highs are also accompanied by some massive lows; just like in life, you have to learn to manage both.’

Claire Harvey with her injured hand in a sling.
Claire Harvey with her injured hand in a sling.

Since the last Olympics, Harvey has become a role model for LGBTIs and others, often speaking at events to share her story.

She told us: ‘I hope that I can still inspire young LGBT people – in so much as I am going to show now that you CAN move forward from something that feels like the end of the world.

‘I’ll focus on healing and then coming back even stronger.

‘I’ll miss the games, that’s certain, but I’m now focused on ensuring I get a medal at the London2017 World Champs.

‘Perhaps that day will be even more sweeter because of the pain now.’