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q&A with Paula dunn - one year on from appointment AS head coach 

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Paula Dunn

28 November 2013

A year on from her appointment as Paralympic Head Coach, we speak to Paula Dunn and ask her a few questions about herself and about the last 12 months in charge.  

Funniest moment?

Being dumped in the ice bath by Peter Eriksson and some of the GB & NI staff after reaching the medal target in Lyon. It was one of the most annoying but funniest things at the same time

Funniest athlete?

Olivia Breen (T38 100m & 200m) - she’s just mad. She giggles and makes me laugh all the time!

Best performance and why?

Richard Whitehead in the T42 200m at the IPC World Championships. He went into Lyon with an injury, didn’t make a fuss and was really calm and composed. He did what he needed to do and performed even when things weren’t going his way. He then went on to run an astonishing 40 marathons in 40 days just a few weeks later

Best track and why?

I loved competing at Oslo because it was so small and a real cosy track and the Olympic Stadium was the most amazing stadium ever to watch athletics

Advised pre-competition meal?

I'd always say to athletes leading up to competitions to do as they normally do. I wouldn’t change anything – you don’t go to a competition and change things. My advice is to follow your own examples because if you change things, it can go wrong

Describe yourself in three words?

Happy, happy, happy

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Aero chocolate

Something not many people know about you?

I think people know everything about me, but I’d say that people probably don't realise that I’m a big worrier  

Most treasured possession and why?

My boys (my two children and my partner)

Best motivational speech as an athlete or a coach and why?

Frank Dick gave the best speech when we were going out to the Europa Cup (now the European Team Championships) in Gateshead in 1989. The message was valuing each athlete as a team member. He highlighted that every point won made a difference to the overall score for the team. It’s the way he sold it – he identified the athletes that weren’t going to be the strongest in the team and said if you can get three points that’s better than two. He motivated each and everyone of us to go out there and get one point extra, which could be the difference between winning.