FARNHAM’S Paralympic gold medallist Kylie Grimes said she was left “completely speechless for once” after finding out she was to be made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year Honours list.
The honour rounds off an incredible year for the 34-year-old, who was part of the first European wheelchair rugby team to win a Paralympic gold medal last summer, beating the USA 54-49 in the final to win gold in Tokyo.
Kylie, who was honoured for her services to wheelchair rugby and is the first woman to win a gold medal in the sport, had previously represented Great Britain at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Kylie told the Herald this week. “When I opened the letter I was completely speechless. I didn’t really know for once what to say.
“I couldn’t believe it. It’s an amazing feeling, and I’m really proud of my whole team. I still get really emotional every time I see the medal! It’s a dream come true and something I’ve worked all my life for, even before my accident. All I ever wanted to do was represent my country and sport. I live and breathe it.
“It still hasn’t really sunk in – and you know what, I don’t ever want it to because it is such an amazing feeling. I’ll always be proud of it.”
Kylie has been in high demand since her success, travelling across the country to give talks to schools and businesses and record interviews and podcasts – all on top of her rugby training.
She said: “I love talking and sharing my story, and we always said as a team that we’d love to leave an impact in the world of wheelchair rugby, so that’s what we’re doing now hopefully.
“It’s keeping me busy but I love it – and especially trying to inspire young children to just to be the best they can be.”