Martine Wright is no stranger to trauma or devastation. The victim of a terrorist attack, she tried her hand at sitting volleyball as part of her rehabilitation – and has not looked back since. Martine later took the athletics world by storm in 2012, when she competed at the London Paralympics in the sitting volleyball discipline. As a mental health speaker, Martine discusses the role that sports played in her emotional and physical recovery.
In 2005, Martine found herself sitting three feet away from a terrorist bomber on the London Underground. In a single moment, she lost both her legs and found her life changed forever. Martine faced a long and challenging recovery. Wheelchair-bound and with new prosthetic legs, she turned to sports as a way to heal mentally and physically. Her experiences were later immortalised via her award-winning autobiography, Unbroken.
Five years after the terrorist attack, Martine competed in her first sitting volleyball game. Only two years later, in 2012, she represented Team GB at the London Paralympics, a testament to Martine’s determination and perseverance. Sport gave Martine hope. It allowed her to rewrite her future. From a chance encounter on the London Underground to Team GB’s star athlete, Martine’s story is a testament to her mental resilience.
Martine has been recognised with several accolades, including the Hertfordshire Sportswoman of the Year, Inspirational Woman of the Year and, most notably, the Helen Rollason Award at the 2012 Sports Personality of the Year. In 2016, following years of advocacy for bombing victims, Martine was appointed MBE for her services. When booked for events, she reflects on the moment her team beat Canada at the 2010 World Championships, and the mental resilience that allowed her to bounce back from adversity.
“It was a great pleasure to have met you and attended your short program on leadership. You were able to connect and engage with a large CIO/CFO group and presented like an insider talking our language. With credible evidence, you have successfully laid the seeds of positive engagement and collaboration into the mind of these leaders which I believe is critical for our success. Borrowing words from our CFO, your session was of high quality and with the right impact. Looking forward to working with you in future.”
“Thank you so much for coming down to Southampton yesterday and for spending time with us. Your speech(es) were so incredibly motivating and captivating. The feedback from our staff has been overwhelmingly positive. Not just your story and how you tell it, but a number of people commented on how it was evident you had taken the time to understand our change and connect it to your Power of 7. Your grounded approach really also hit home with our people. We really don’t know how we are going to top your event! Thanks again for sharing your incredible story and insight.”
“I wanted to let you know that we had a fantastic session with Martine last Thursday and to thank you for your help with arrangements. On behalf of the Members of HLK, Rolf and myself would you please pass on our thanks to Martine for conducting a truly memorable presentation. We wanted Martine’s story to challenge and inspire out team and she most certainly delivered! This is the second time I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Martine speak and she was every bit as impressive this time as the last. It was an absolute privilege for me to spend time in her company”