Sports

Aug 31, 2012 12:22 PM by Lauren Molenburg

Terror attack survivor becomes Paralympian

LONDON (AP) -- All eyes were on No. 7 when Britain played Ukraine on Friday in its first match of the Paralympic Games sitting volleyball tournament.

That is the number for Martine Wright, a former marketing manager who was traveling on London's subway on July 7, 2005, when four suicide bombers inspired by Osama bin Laden detonated explosives and killed 52 commuters. She lost both legs in the explosion.

But as Wright will tell you, that wasn't the end of the story.

"I will always say I was one of the lucky ones that day," she told The Associated Press earlier this year. "I survived. I don't know how I survived. I've been living my life ever since."

Her body swelled to twice its normal size because of her injuries. Her brother and sister saw her in the hospital and told the police it wasn't her.

Wright saw the impact of the bombs on so many others. Families grieved. The city reeled in shock. She ultimately had to decide: What would it be, Martine?

The answer began with small steps on prosthetic legs. She fell down. But she got back up, again and again.

"When you go through something traumatic in your life ... you sometimes lose who you are," she said. "You're thrown in this completely new world. When it happened to me, it didn't sort of happen overnight, suddenly, an epiphany - Right. I can live my life now. It's a very gradual process."

She learned to fly, took up skiing. She got married, had a gorgeous little boy. But she needed more.

Always athletic, she missed the competitiveness she once experienced at work - that passion for success, the thrill of winning. She became attracted to sitting volleyball because you don't use a wheelchair.

Like volleyball, it has six players to a side and three touches allowed, but the net is lower and players mostly sit on the floor. When Wright is on the court, she isn't thinking about disability.

"It's such a negative thing that happened in my life," Wright said. "But I've gained something so positive. It's a miracle in itself."

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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