'The Golden Couple'

Sascha Kindred and Nyree Lewis, otherwise known as the 'golden couple' of disabled sport, are two of Great Britain's most successful paralympians of the last decade, amassing 20 Paralympic medals between them including an amazing 8 golds. I am the brother of Sascha and am tracking their progress from Athens 2004 to London 2012. Read about their journey to Paralympic Glory here!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Exclusive: Interview with the Golden Couple

Yes, I managed to grab hold of Sascha and Nyree for 10 minutes two days before the upcoming BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards to ask them a few questions about the awards, the past year and what they want for Christmas! Here's the interview for your eyes only....

(TK is Timo Kindred, SK is Sascha Kindred and NL is Nyree Lewis)

TK: So guys, you’re both heading to the BBC Sports Personality this weekend in Liverpool. You've been to them before right - what is it like sitting in the studio next to so many sports stars?

NL: Yeah, we’re really looking forward to it. It’s great to be recognised as being sports stars ourselves and to be invited to these kinds of events. Sitting within the presence of high profile stars is an honour.

SK: Yes. It was great going in 2004 after Athens, but this year there is an even bigger buzz about it after all the success in Beijing this year.

TK: The big question of course, who do you want to win and who do you think will win?

NL: Well, we’d both like Chris Hoy to win as he has from our point of view done the best sporting wise this year having won three gold medals. However, Sascha thinks Lewis will win as he seems to have more public support.

SK: Yes, it will be great if an Olympian gets it and Rebecca Addlington, a fellow swimmer has a good chance too. It will defiantly be those three in the top three but in what order isn’t certain.

TK: It’s funny you should say that about Lewis as there’s been a lot of newspaper polls and the majority of those have Chris Hoy ahead by quite a margin. But of course it depends on who votes. As athletes yourselves who train for four years to get to the Paralympics, do you feel the Olympians are more deserving of the award or?

SK; Yes, I guess we have a better understanding of the sacrifices that they make through training in most cases for one race, whereas someone like Hamilton can win half the races and still be World Champion. The Olympians have once chance and that’s it.

NL: But that’s not taking away anything from Hamilton’s achievements as he is the youngest ever winner of the Formula One Championships and he’s done very well. I’m sure it won’t be the last time he wins it though.

TK: Now I know everyone is expecting a certain Paralympian to possibly win the young SPOTY award this weekend?

NL: Yes, although it's not a public vote, Eleanor Simmonds will hopefully win. Tom Daley won it last year so I don't think he'll get it this year. However, Laura Robson the young tennis player who’s developed so well this year is a huge favourite. It will be amazing if a disabled athlete wins it though as it will help to promote disability sport more.

TK: I understand you get to mingle a bit with other athletes after the show. What's that like and who are you most looking forward to seeing?

SK: Yes, it’s a great feeling mingling with so many sporting stars of the past and present.

NK: I’m most looking forward to seeing everyone as it’s not something you can do every day. I would love to see David Beckham, but I don’t think he’ll be there. It would be great to see Ricky Hatton again. He's a really nice guy.

TK: I think you might just accidentally faint and handcuff yourself onto Beckham if you saw him!

NL: Ha ha. Yeah, I would run over his foot and offer him my lap to rest on!

TK: Now back to you guys. I know you've had a tough year as you didn't quite achieve the things you wanted to in Beijing, but looking back, there must be a highlight for you of the year?

NL: Yeah. If I was to pick one highlight, it would probably by the Paralympic trials where I swam great. But of course, that didn’t really materialize into what I really wanted which was gold in Athens. Perhaps I peaked to soon.

TK: If you could sum up Beijing in a sentence or two for you, what would you say?

NL: (pause). Ummm, awesome experience, disappointing performance.

TK: What did you think of the Beijing Paralympics overall?

NL: It was fantastic. The attention to detail was perfect and they put on a great games. I’ll remember it forever.

TK: And Sascha, if you had to pick a highlight of the year, what would it be, or is that obvious?

SK: Yeah, it has to be winning three individual medals for the first time at a Paralympic Games and of course defending my two titles to make it a double hatrick of medals over the last three games.

TK: Aside from your own performances, whose performance stood out for you in the swimming, GB and non GB?

SK: It has to be Eleanor Simmonds 100m freestyle for GB as she came from behind to win unexpectedly. It was a great swim. As for non-GB, it would be the American Lantz Lamback in the 100m backstroke S7 category as he broke the World Record by two seconds and beat both Andrew Lindsay and Jon Fox who were the favourites.

TK: And how about your good friend Matthew Walker? Is there anyone more deserving than him to win five medals?

SK: Oh of course. No, I think he did amazingly well. Five medals in five different events is pretty impressive. I have three and they weigh enough. God knows how he carries five around with him!

TK: Now, I hear that you've both been out quite a bit making appearances here and there. What does that involve and how has that been?

SK: Yeah, we’ve done quite a bit since we’ve been back actually. In the past week alone I’ve been to two schools in our local area in Hereford, Pembridge Juniors and Credenhill Primary. It’s been great to talk about our experiences to the children at these schools and see their faces when they see our medals. Many of them watched us on TV and know who we are which is great to hear as it means the profile of disability sport is improving.

NL: Yeah, and we’ve been to numerous award ceremonies, openings and even to the recent rugby international between Wales v New Zealand where we were introduced on to the crowd on the field.

TK: And you sat next to Joe Calzaghe yes?

NL: Oh, Joe (pause). Well, not right next to him, but I could see him and I nearly ran over his foot as well!

TK: Going back to the Paralympics, who would be your ones to watch for 2012?

NL: Louise Watkin, Eleanor Simmonds, Sam Hynd and John Fox. They’re young, will only get better and I’d expect them to be on the medal podium in four years time.

TK: And in three words max – London 2012?

SK: Bring it on!

TK: So you’re going then?

SK: That’s the aim, although as we’re getting a bit older we’ll refocus over the next year or so to ensure that we’re in the best shape when the games come around. Training takes so much out of you that it would be impossible for us to train as much as we have been doing for another four years straight. So we’ll see how we are in a year but our goal is to be there yes.

TK: Ok, a couple of different questions now. If you went to Lapland to see Santa, what Christmas gift would you bring him?

NL: But isn’t Santa the one who gives the gifts!?

TK: Yes, but doesn’t Santa deserve a little something for his hard work?

NL: Well, his elves do it for him!

All: (laughter)

SK: Ha, probably a portable heater.

TK: And what would you like for Christmas?

Both: Nothing.

TK: Nothing?

NL: Well, some GHD hair straighteners would be nice. But seriously, we don't expect much and know it's hard times for people at the moment with money so just being around friends and family will do for us.

TK: I’ll have a word with Santa. Lastly, there’s a big final on tomorrow night which I know you’re recording on Sky Plus so I won’t tell you the result when I know it, but who do you want to win X Factor?

SK: I think Alexandra is the best by far, but I’d like to see JLS win as there’s more room for a boy band out there at the moment.

TK: Hmmm, not sure I agree with that, but you heard it hear first. JLS to win X Factor! Thanks guys. It’s been a pleasure as always.


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