PROUD Steve Tarrant has just served the Olympic and Paralympic sailing regattas at Weymouth in a unique way.
The motorsport marshal, who lost a leg in a horrific crash at Goodwood 12 years ago, believes he was the only games maker and medal and flower bearer who served in a wheelchair.
Steve, 51, from Upton said: “The last two years of the build up, the application stage through being accepted to doing the Olympics and Paralympics have been absolutely wonderful.”
He held the gold medals for the Earl of Wessex to present to the winning Netherlands team of three in the Paralympics, while wife Sophie presented the flowers. And during the Olympics he proudly carried bronze medals to be presented.
“It’s been an incredible experience the last few weeks. Meeting Ben Ainslie and Steve Redgrave was wonderful and so was seeing the athletes compete in world class sport,” he said.
One incident that stuck in his mind was the joy of a Cyprus sailor who won his country’s first ever Olympic medal and promptly asked if he could take the flag flying on the flagpole home to display in a museum.
Proud of his victory ceremony team, mostly made up of Bournemouth University students and graduates, Steve said: “I was Granddad to them. They were mostly half my age.” And he was struck by how friendly everyone was.
Having survived the 100-mile crash with a Formula One car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed which claimed the life of driver John Dawson-Damer and fellow marshal Andrew Carpenter, Steve has been making headlines ever since.
He became the first wheelchair-using marshal to assist at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2007 and earlier this year broke a world record on his mobility scooter, completing 173.287 miles in 24 hours.
“I’m now a retired, redundant Paralympic medal bearer,” said Steve – but undoubtedly there will be another challenge for him just round the corner.