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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

Paralympic and World & European Championship gold medallist, Liz Johnson, joins the BRIT Family

We are delighted that Liz has joined our BRIT Ambassador family.

Liz has represented Great Britain at the Paralympic Games, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships and European Championships. She is one of a select few athletes to have won gold medals in the Paralympics, World Championships and European Championships.

Liz Johnson - Paralympic Gold medallist

“Having lived with a disability all my life, been a student at Swansea University and through volunteering and the various work I do with Disability Sport Wales, the Dame Kelly Holmes Foundation and Youth Sport Trust, I know first-hand how challenging life can be for so many young adults; particularly those with disabilities. COVID-19 is compounding the existing mental health challenges faced by many young people and students, therefore we must do more to support their mental health and fitness throughout the UK.

On the 9th October 2020, Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Welsh Language published a statement on behalf of the Welsh Government. In that statement, the Minister said;

“The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on particular groups in society, particularly those on a low income, people with an existing mental health condition; children and young adults and people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. There is no single response to these issues – they require multifaceted and multi-agency approaches, developed through collaboration across sectors, across government departs and across services. Preventing and supporting the mental health and wellbeing needs of the population is not something the NHS can – or should – do alone.”

The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) are doing exactly that; they are a collaborative charity who are supporting young adult mental health throughout the UK by uniting the Education, Sport and Charity sectors. By collaborating and partnering with a wealth of organisations, they are every UK university and college to embrace their annual BRIT Challenge and encourage students and young adults of all abilities to take part. BRIT have toured Wales and visiting universities and colleges to strengthen relationships, and they have built partnerships or special relationships with Universities Wales (Universities UK), Colegau Cymru and Sport Wales.

I am delighted that BRIT have designed their BRIT 2021 Challenge to be inclusive so that students and staff of all abilities can take part in many different ways and hope that every Welsh university and college enter teams. I look forward to encouraging students and staff at Swansea University and Gower College Swansea to take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge and complete their 2,021 miles as teams. I also urge fellow current and retired Olympians, Paralympians and sports personalities to join our BRIT Ambassador family so that we can inspire and encourage students and staff at universities and colleges across the UK who are taking on the BRIT Challenge.”

Liz Johnson - Paralympic and World & European Championship Gold medallist

Liz was born in Newport, South Wales and educated at Bassaleg School in Newport. She has cerebral palsy and at the age of three, was encouraged by her mother to join a group for disabled swimmers to strengthen and relax her muscles. She fell in love with the spirt and competing as an S6 swimmer, was selected to swim for Team GB at the age of 14.

Between 2004 and 2007, Liz competed her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with a specialisation in Finance at Swansea University.

Liz specialises in Breaststroke. In 2001, Liz one bronze in the 200 metres Individual Medley at the IPC European Championships in Stockholm.

At the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Liz won silver int eh Women’s SB6 100 metres Breaststroke.

Liz won three golds at the 2006 IPC World Championships in Durban; in the SB6 100 metres Breaststroke 4 x 50 metres Freestyle and 2 x 50 metres Medley.

At the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, Liz won gold in the Women’s SB6 100 metres Breaststroke.

Liz won gold and two bronze medals at the 2009 IPC World Championships in Rio de Janeiro; gold in the SB6 100 metres Breaststroke (setting a new World Record), bronze in the SM6 200 metres Individual Medley and bronze in the SM6 100 metres Individual Medley. That same year, Liz won silver in the SB6 100 metres Breaststroke at the IPC European Championships in Reykjavik.

In 2010, Liz won bronze in the SB6 10 metres Breaststroke at the IPC World Championships in Eindhoven.

Liz won gold in the SB6 100 metres Breaststroke at the 2011 IPC European Championships in Berlin. That same year, Liz was given the honour of laying the final tile in the competition pool at the London Aquatics Centre.

In 2012, at her third Paralympic Games, Liz won bronze in the Women’s SB6 100 metres Breaststroke in London. She set a new Paralympic record with a season’s best time and was selected as the Paralympic Oath taker at the Games.

In the build up to her fourth Paralympic Games in Rio, Liz underwent an operation for a hernia. While recovering, she found herself falling behind in her training which impacted on her preparation for the 2016 Paralympic trials. Her failure to make the trials, resulted in Liz making the decision to retire from competitive swimming.

Liz Johnson - Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Ability People

Liz has been an Athlete Mentor at the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust since 2015. That same year, Liz became an Athlete Mentor at the Youth Sport Trust and a Board Member at The Federation of Disability Sport Wales. She has been a Patron of Dreamflight since 2008.

Since 2016, Liz has been a television reporter, pundit and commentator for the BBC and Channel 4.

In 2018, Liz co-founded and became Managing Director of The Ability People; a “for profit” social enterprise dedicated to empowering people with disabilities. They help companies enhance processes and adapt cultures, transforming professional lives and building better brands. Ability People is built upon the skills and drive of individuals who have overcome extraordinary challenges to achieve success in the worlds of sport, industry, community and education, so they have a unique perspective on success and understand the true value of meaningful inclusion. They support positive change through advice and education, while their specialist recruitment teams source talent for companies and SMEs on a permanent and contract basis.


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