Sarah Storey

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history

Sarah Storey or Dame Sarah Joanne Storey is a British gold medal winning Paralympic athlete in cycling and swimming, British track cycle champion, a motivational speaker, and sports coach.[1]
Storey began competing internationally aged just 14, which resulted in bullying at school, and she devloped disordered eating as a result, then chronic fatigue syndrome a few years after.[2]

Storey fully recovered, and by 2020 she had became Britain's most decorated British Paralympian, with 17 gold medals won across eight different Paralympics. Storey is now in her 40s, still competing in elite competitions, having returned to full fitness twice more, after the birth of her two children.[3]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Dame Sarah Storey: Your Questions Answered, British Cycling (2020)

Storey was born in Manchester, UK and swam from a young age. She was born without a functioning left hand and did not find this obstacle in her early years.[4] She swam first with her junior school, and then with a local swimming club, before entering a gala in order to qualify to race at a higher level.[4]

Bullying and disordered eating[edit | edit source]

In 2018, Dame Storey described being bullied as a teenager immediately after competing in her first Paralympics at age 14. As a result, Storey began to avoid eating, losing weight and developing disordered eating. With help from her doctor, she recovered and continued competing while at school.[4]

When you win five gold medals before your 19th birthday people assume you’re invincible, but I ended up with chronic fatigue syndrome.[5] — Sarah Storey, Q&A with Dame Sarah Storey, Cyclist (2021)

Chronic fatigue syndrome[edit | edit source]

Sarah Storey became ill in her late teens with mononucleosis followed by Post-Viral Fatigue, which then developed into chronic fatigue syndrome.[3][2] Storey was ill with chronic fatigue for four years during her early swimming career, which left her unable to swim.[2]

"At that time, I was pretty much called a failure by the people in charge of swimming," she says. "I didn't successfully defend my world titles in 1998. I didn't warm up, I didn't swim, I literally ran and fell asleep on the physiotherapist's bed I was so exhausted. It was me with post-viral fatigue. I had to gradually rebuild myself by spending only five minutes a day in the water. So when I won three world titles in 2002, I felt like it was a great triumph..."
"I guess in able-bodied sport that would have been covered, the descents I had gone through and the distance I had climbed. It showed that I could still give a lot, physically and mentally. It also gave me a platform to support athletes who have had Covid-19 in the past 18 months. Along with some of those I mentored, I tried to prevent post-viral fatigue from turning into chronic fatigue syndrome, as it did with me." — The New Zealand Times, 2021

Switch to cycling[edit | edit source]

Storey switched sports from swimming to cycling, after persistent ear infections in 2005 kept her from swimming. As a swimmer, Storey's races lasted no more than five minutes, but as a cyclist they last up to four hours, needing considerably more endurance.[5] As a cyclist, Storey competes and wins in both able bodied and disabled classifications, particularly in track cycling events.[1]

Talks and interviews[edit | edit source]

Paralymics[edit | edit source]

  • Barcelona 1992 (swimming)
  • Atlanta 1996 (swimming)
  • Sydney 2000 (swimming)
  • Athens 2004 (swimming)
  • Beijing 2008 (cycling)
  • London 2012 (cycling)
  • Rio 2016 (cycling)
  • Tokyo 2020 (cycling)

Awards and honors[edit | edit source]

  • 1998, MBE
  • 1998, OBE
  • 2009, DBE, becoming Dame Sarah Storey.[1]

Online presence[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Dame Sarah Storey OBE - Great Britain Cycling Team Rider Profile". British Cycling. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Exclusive Interview with Dame Sarah Storey: "Surviving the School Bully has equipped me for the challenges ahead"". The New Zealand Times. December 6, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Dame Sarah Storey: Your Questions Answered". YouTube. British Cycling. June 22, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Thurstom, Emma (January 12, 2021). "Dame Sarah Storey speaks about her experience of bullying and disordered eating". Sky Sports. Retrieved December 17, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Q&A: Dame Sarah Storey". Cyclist. September 3, 2021. Retrieved December 18, 2021.