Business Forum with Sam Ruddock - 5 February 2013


A fast-track to London 2012: the trials and tribulations of the (disabled) academic-athlete

On 5 February the Spring Business Forum was held at the Cavalry & Guards Club, London.

Sam Ruddock (T 06-08) Rugby School’s first Paralympian, spoke about his journey and experiences as the first Rugbeian Paralympian at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Sam competed in the 2012 Olympics and ran the race of his life on Wednesday 26 September in the Olympic Stadium in the 200m semi-final when he achieved a personal best time, but narrowly missed winning a place in the final. An unknown of the world stage, having only taken up athletics six months ago, Sam’s rapid progress achieved him a place on the GB Paralympic team for both the 100m and 200m in the T35 class. The former Town House scholarship pupil, who recently achieved a First Class Honours degree in International Relations from Loughborough University, said he was proud to be a Paralympian.

“I am proud to wear Great Britain on my chest and absolutely buzzing that I just ran a personal best at the Paralympic Games!” he said. “I am blessed to have shared the start of this journey with all of you. Not only have I done the incredible, but I have witnessed the incredible. Thank you all.”

Joe McDonnell, Sam’s coach, said the aim for this Games was to learn from the experience in the build up to the 2016 Rio Games.

“For Sam to come out with two 9th place finishes is incredible! He’s done himself proud and I’m sure we can expect a very bright future for him,” he added.

Read more about Sam.

"It isn’t often that you get the chance to hear a truly inspirational talk.  That was the treat that those of us who attended the Spring Business Forum enjoyed.  Sam Ruddock (T 06-08), the first Rugbeian Paralympian, shared with us his journey from being talent sported at Loughborough University as he played American Football, to his unique experience as he ran on the track in the Olympic stadium.  He left us in no doubt about the sheer guts and determination needed to overcome the challenges posed by his cerebral palsy, the constant extra training needed to get his reluctant legs to run 100 metres, 200 metres ......  and the sheer guts he showed to overcome the incredible pain that he experienced before crossing the finish line.  No one who heard his talk as he described the Olympic experience, the life in the village, the camaraderie within the team and his ambition for the future and Rio could fail to find enormous pride that he is a Rugbeian and that Rugby gave him the chance of join Town House as a Foundationer for his Sixth Form career – an opportunity which he identifies as the starting point of his Olympic achievement.  He needs the support of all Rugbeians now to help him keep up his training as he prepares for world championships next year and I hope that our community will do what is needed." 

Jane Phelps, Housemistress  Stanley 93-07.
Director External Relations, New College of the Humanities.