A place in the history books could beckon at Rio 2016 but Lauren Steadman insists she cannot afford to look past the here and now.
The reigning world and European champion, Steadman is one of Britain’s leading hopes going into September’s Games in Rio – where the sport of paratriathlon will make its Paralympics debut.
It’s a case of making sure I stay fit and don’t pick up any injuriesLauren Steadman
Originally from Peterborough but now based in Portsmouth having completed a degree in psychology, the 23-year-old has previous experience of the big stage having competed in swimming at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
She switched to paratriathlon in 2013 and has since picked up three European and two world titles.
Steadman’s record makes her one of the favourites for Rio.
But she is refusing to get carried away.
Instead, she is focused on her next big target – the World Paratriathlon Series, which gets under way in Buffalo City, South Africa in March.
‘It’s a very exciting time for me with paratriathlon making its debut at Rio,’ said Steadman.
‘But there’s still a lot to happen between now and then.
‘We have got a full season’s racing, which starts in March.
‘So it’s a case of making sure I stay fit and don’t pick up any injuries.
‘Obviously I competed as a swimmer at the previous two Paralympics, so this will be a bit different.
‘But I’m excited to race in Rio. It’s a beautiful city.
‘We have competed at the trials there, so we know a bit about what to expect.
‘It’s very different climate-wise, so it’s good to know what we need to prepare for.
‘If I won in Rio, it would be the first paratriathlon champion.
‘It’s a chance to make history and an amazing opportunity.’
Steadman was speaking as she helped launch ‘Supercharge ParalympicsGB’ – a new campaign which allows the public to show their support for Britain’s Paralympians over the course of 2016 and beyond through fundraising, donating funds and taking part in dedicated ‘Supercharge’ fan activity.
It is the first time the British Paralympic Association – a registered charity – has launched such a major public-facing campaign to generate support and raise funds for ParalympicsGB.
And Steadman believes it will prove invaluable in the run up to Rio 2016.
‘After two previous Games, I do believe London was a turning point for ParalympicsGB,’ she added.
‘We had tremendous support and I do believe it boosted performances knowing thousands of people were behind us.
‘It’s a great feeling to represent your country and you want to make people proud.
‘Hopefully the public can get behind us again and we can have another successful Paralympics.’
n You can help #Supercharge ParalympicsGB to Rio 2016 and beyond. Show your support and find out more at paralympics.org.uk/supercharge