Matteo and I will be there when she competes in Paris, which will be pretty special. The long-jump event is a rollercoaster of emotions: right up until the last jump, she can win or lose. When she won gold at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021, I was a blubbering mess. If she jumps as far as we know she can, she’ll come home from Paris with a gold medal. But whether she walks away with gold or with nothing, I’m still going to love her. Matteo is still going to love her, too. Nothing’s going to change.

Vanessa: I had three coaches before Scott and they all had an ocean of knowledge, but none of them knew me as a person as well as he does. He truly understands me, and what it takes to support me.

We both had our accidents early in life – I was 15 when I fell from a railway platform into the path of a train and lost both my legs – and as a result, we both grew up really quickly. Sometimes we found it quite hard to connect with people our age. On the plus side, experiencing that hardship early probably brought out aspects of our characters that we otherwise wouldn’t have discovered until later in our lives, qualities that made us the athletes we are. We have both refused to let ourselves be defined by what happened to us. We’ve taken charge of our lives and defined ourselves by the way we’ve responded to the cards we were dealt.

Scott is just the kindest person. If you enter his world, you always feel like you’re welcome and supported and loved. I guess that’s what really made me fall for him. When we first started dating, he used to ask me why I picked him. I would joke that I knew he was going to be the best dad, and also that he was going to pass on his amazing eyelashes to our baby. I was right on both counts.

I had a difficult pregnancy. I was quite sick for most of it, but the most challenging aspect was that, towards the end, I couldn’t fit into my prosthetic legs any more. I really struggled with mobility.

‘A lot of people don’t understand that although I can run 100 metres in under 15 seconds … I’m still quite reliant on my wheelchair.’

Vanessa Low

Everything that was a problem when I first lost my legs all of a sudden became a problem again. I was reliant on a wheelchair and reliant on other people. I had kind of ­forgotten how that felt because I’d been so ­active and independent for so long.

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We are so grateful to have Matteo. He is the sweetest little thing. He was an unsettled baby, though – essentially, he screamed for the first six months of his life. The only way, really, to keep him from screaming was walking laps around the kitchen island at 2am. I think a lot of mums understand how difficult sleep deprivation can be, but add to that the ­disability layer and it was definitely challenging. Scott was also struggling. Becoming parents was a humbling experience, making us realise that we weren’t invincible.

I view disability as a shadow that is always with me. A lot of people don’t understand that although I can run 100 metres in under 15 seconds and jump five-and-a-half metres, that’s only one side of my life. In the mornings and evenings, I’m still quite reliant on my wheelchair.

I am a fierce competitor: I wouldn’t still be a professional athlete if I didn’t want to be the best. I truly do want to be on the top of the ­podium. But I think you learn after winning your first gold medal that it doesn’t matter as much as you thought it did. It doesn’t really change anything. In Paris, the important thing will be having Scott and Matteo with me, knowing we have given our all to be there.

twoofus@goodweekend.com.au

To read more from Good Weekend magazine, visit our page at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, WA Today and Brisbane Times.

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