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interview As a child, Katrina Webb successfully hid her disability from almost everyone. But when she made it to elite level sport as a teenager, her secret – mild cerebral palsy on her right side – was exposed. Deciding to embrace her difference instead of hiding it, Katrina went on to become a three-time Paralympian and three-time gold medallist. Now a successful business woman inspiring leadership for the greater good, Katrina shares her story with Link. K atrina remembers having to I participated in sports once a wear a plaster on her right leg week, and then practised on to bed every night as a child, my own as well, I could actually until she stopped growing. “When other kids at school wore plasters, it was because something was broken. And so, in my head, I was broken,” she said. “I thought if people knew I was “But I was having to work so hard to hide my weakness. “I can’t curl my right toes, I can’t move them or point them, which means I can’t balance. My right leg is broken then they might tease me thinner and shorter than my left leg about this ugly plaster, so I asked my and I limp when I’m tired. parents if we could not tell anyone. If “I was worried about people a friend was coming to stay, I wouldn’t seeing all of that … at ballet, the wear my plaster for the night. teacher would tell me to point my “I guess my parents were okay toes, but I just couldn’t.” with it because what was wrong hadn’t Katrina ended up learning to been labelled as cerebral palsy at that lie and to have answers ready for stage, they were just told I had a mild her ballet teacher and others. But injury to my brain during my formation constantly pre-empting what people in-utero which meant a weakness on might ask was exhausting. my right side.” Keeping her secret safe among her “It took up so much energy, working out what to say, trying not immediate family, Katrina said she set to limp, wearing jeans all the time out to show the rest of the world that to cover up my thinner leg … I was she was “good enough”. putting all this work into trying to be a “Even with the weakness on my right side, I worked out that if linkonline.com.au be quite good,” she said. version of myself that I wasn’t born to be,” she said. interview 19