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Sunday, 8 September 2013

After reading about Emily's incredible story so far we decided to ask her some questions about her involvement at London 2012 and what her plans are for the future. Here is our short Q+A session with her...

1. As a wheelchair user, how did you find the facilities and accessibility at The Games?
I thought it was incredible.  Not only were the facilities great, they were so great that I honestly did not have to put in any extra effort compared to an able-bodied person.  The lifts and toilets were conveniently placed; everything was lovely and flat, with vehicles to help you out if you struggled with distance.  Most of all, though, there was always someone willing to help you out if you needed it.  Such an inclusive, wonderful atmosphere.

2. Would you encourage a disabled person to apply to be a volunteer at The Games and why?
Absolutely, and why not?  Everything you could possibly need will be available to you.  You will make friends that you immediately have a bond with, as you are all volunteering for the same reasons: to have fun, and to make a difference to the success of the event and the enjoyment of the athletes.  I'd even say that I had an advantage working as a disabled volunteer at the Paralympics. I felt that, a lot of the time, I was able to communicate well with athletes who had similar disabilities, and they were equally confident that I would be able to help them out.  My wheelchair also fell apart during one of my shifts, and I couldn't have been in a better location for it to be mended by all the amazing technicians!

3. What is your favourite memory from working at London 2012?
There's so many! Of course, meeting Seb was incredible, as was being mentioned in his speech.  What I remember most, though, is the constant buzz that surrounded London.  Everyone was vibrant and happy; it made working at the Games an absolute joy.

4. What advice would you give to a disabled person that is considering applying for tickets to Rio?
Read the accessible guide I'm writing, which will hopefully tell you all you need to know about making the most of your time there!

5. Tell us a bit about your book 'An Accessible Guide to Rio' and when can we get our hands on a copy?

Right now, the guide is still in the very early stages. The aim, though, is to create a fully comprehensive guide that will help those with varying disabilities to get the most out of their time in Rio. It'll let you know where is good to visit, where you can rest your head after a busy day, and where you can go to party with ease!  Of course, there will be lots of information about accessible transport and tourist attractions, too.  And it won't just be suitable for those with disabilities either.  The elderly and families with children in pushchairs may also benefit from it, too.  If all goes to plan, we are hoping that the guide will be distributed free of charge through disability organisations and networks, so that the guide really does hit its target audience!

Emily's Twitter: @EmilyRYates

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