|20 Sep 2021|
|Written by Ann Revell|
For Oliver Lam-Watson, Team GB wheelchair fencer, designing a pair of limited edition shoes for Nike is about much more than fashion
Three years ago my doctor told me I would never walk or run normally and that I would never be an athlete. This was due to a disability in my left leg that I was born with, since then I’ve made it my goal to do what everyone told me I would never do.
Sport has been a huge part of that journey and now he can proudly say he represented his country at the highest level of wheelchair fencing and returned from the 2021 Paralympics with two medals for fencing. So, to say he was excited to hear that he had been chosen by the Nike by You workshop programme as one of 20 individuals in London to co-create a shoe, was an understatement. Not just because it’s a really cool opportunity but because it would give me a platform to challenge misconceptions about disability.
It’s so important to me to raise awareness that people are not only disabled by their diagnosis, but also by barriers in society. I want to challenge negative public attitudes, tackle stereotypes and battle unconscious bias. Since then I have set about creating YouTube videos about disability and social change. I use my channel to debunk myths about disability and talk about issues such as mental health.
I want to help transform the face of disability and address society's preconception that being disabled is about what you can’t do. That’s why I gave my shoe the name ‘At odds’ because it’s about being at odds with society's stereotypes of the disabled and different while celebrating the fact that different is not less.
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Thank you for sharing!