The photos that accompany this article give you a little more perspective of what Anna does and achieves whilst flying down snow covered mountains at speed!
Anna is qualified to compete in every Paralympic skiing discipline - which is a huge achievement in itself, but also one that sums her up as an athlete
and a person. If it’s there for the taking, Anna is going to throw herself into it and achieve what she set out to do.
Spending time talking to Anna was so interesting, trying to understand what makes her tick and enable her to achieve all she has and continues to achieve.
For her, looking ahead is key. “You need to know what you want to achieve,” she says of the starting point in achieving things. The reason for this is
so simple yet effective: if you look ahead and are clear on what you want to achieve, then you can work backwards and plan.
In a way this is all fairly text book, but the thing that stands out is Anna’s clarity that things actually do go wrong, and that it is what you do with
this that matters. For her it’s about knowing that they can go wrong, not beating oneself up about it and just moving on past it. And most importantly,
focusing on the original goal and not on the negative. “It’s easy to focus on the negative,” she says.
For Anna, therefore, it’s about learning and moving on and having the ability to acknowledge the difficulties, but not letting it become your focus or
determine who you are, or more importantly, are going to become. The theme of things going wrong weaves through our conversation, but at each point Anna
talks about it in a way that gives you the sense that she is at peace with it - and her approach enables “You need to
know what you want to achieve” her to not lose focus of her aims. Therefore, rather than thinking that everything will be fine if one plans and trains
hard, it is also knowing that things sometimes can and do go wrong. It is this acceptance that gives Anna an incredible determination and ability to pull
through anything. This is great to see and listen to.
Having said all of the above, for Anna it’s all well and good planning and having a goal/dream, but according to her there is only one way it’s going
to happen….through hard work. That’s her secret: it’s sheer hard work, nothing else. It goes hand in hand with her determination to succeed: she
is very clear that the only way to the top and the only way to achieve what she set herself to do is through hard work…and lots of it!
Hard work comes in three forms for Anna: firstly in training, the gym, etc., but also in self-protection of her body, keeping her muscles balanced, mobility
training, rotator cuff work, meditation etc., all to ensure that her body is being looked after rather than just being highly trained. She cares for herself
and her body in order to ensure that she is able to train hard so that she can achieve her goals. These parts all connect incredibly well.
The final part of the jigsaw for me was when Anna commented that “….friends, family and my husband have backed me and this is central to my success
and what I can achieve.” She says that she can actually achieve more when she has that
“….friends, family and my husband have backed me and this is central to my success and what I can achieve.” support. As Anna talks about this support,
it’s clear to see that it
has a very positive and empowering effect on her. It has also helped propel her to where she is now and will continue to help her in the ascendancy of
Anna is a athlete with a huge amount of determination that gives her a focus on her goals, that allows her to train hard whilst protecting herself, knowing
she has the full support of those close to her. It is this combination working together in harmony that makes her who she is, a great athlete who is exciting
to watch and an inspiration to
those who spend time with her.
Photos: courtesy Anna Turney