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London terror attack survivor becomes Paralympian
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

London • All eyes were on No. 7 when Britain played Ukraine on Friday in its first match of the Paralympic Games sitting volleyball tournament.

That's the number for Martine Wright, a former marketing manager who was traveling on London's subway on July 7, 2005, when four suicide bombers inspired by Osama bin Laden detonated explosives and killed 52 commuters. She lost both legs in the explosion.

But as Wright will tell you, that wasn't the end of the story.

"I will always say I was one of the lucky ones that day," she told The Associated Press earlier this year. "I survived. I don't know how I survived. I've been living my life ever since."

She had stayed out late the night before, celebrating the decision to award the Summer Olympics to London. Having overslept, she didn't reach the car she normally rode. Instead, she just jumped on the train as the doors closed.

She later told an inquest into the terror attacks that she recalled a flash of light and a sensation of being thrown from side to side. She looked up and saw one of the new sneakers she had just bought. It was bloody, blown off her foot and skewered on a piece of metal. An off-duty policewoman found her, wrapped her leg in a tourniquet, held her hand, moistened her lips with water. She had lost three-fourths of her blood.

Her body swelled to twice its normal size because of her injuries.

Her brother and sister saw her in the hospital and told the police it wasn't her.

Wright will tell you that she had help to get through the seven years since 7/7. It's about Martine's team — what she refers to as "Team Me" — her support group of family and friends. It started in the hospital, with her mother, holding her daughter's face in her hands, telling her she could have died or suffered brain damage. But that didn't happen. Martine was still Martine.

Wright saw the impact of the bombs on so many others. Families grieved. The city reeled in shock. She ultimately had to decide: What would it be, Martine?

The answer began with small steps on prosthetic legs. She fell down. But she got back up, again and again.

''When you go through something traumatic in your life ... you sometimes lose who you are," she said. "You're thrown in this completely new world. When it happened to me, it didn't sort of happen overnight, suddenly, an epiphany — 'Right. I can live my life now.' It's a very gradual process."

Paralympics • Martine Wright lost both legs in subway explosion.
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