Updated: May 16
Tully Kearney MBE is a Paralympic swimmer who competes in the S5, SB4, SM5 classification for swimmers with physical disabilities. Tully also has autism - although this has no bearing on her classification as a para athlete (fyi)
Tully won Gold and Silver at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games setting World Records in both the 50 m and 100 m freestyle, but for 10 years up until this January, she hid her autism from her coaches, her teammates, and her sport due to fear of stigma and discrimination.
It's a sad story when an athlete has to win multiple Olympic medals and set multiple World Records for them to feel 'safe' disclosing their neurodivergence... the negative preconceptions don't have as much of an impact when you have that kind of back up!
It's sad to think about how many neurodivergent athletes have been dismissed before they could achieve their full potential... and if the highest performers struggle to gain understanding and respect, then what does that say to those neurodivergent individuals who just want to enjoy sports for sports sake...?
As much as these are difficult truths to face, the fact that they are coming to light is a positive! And the fact that neurodivergent athletes like Tully are trying to change the narrative - to set and example and be a positive role model, is certainly something to celebrate!
So, in celebration of International Women's Day, and in the lead up to Neurodiversity Celebration Week, we thought it would be the perfect time to give Tully a platform to tell her story in her own words... we would love for you to watch or listen!
Don't forget to like and subscribe to our YouTube Channel in the process!!! 🙏🙏🙏
Below is the post Tully put out this January disclosing her autism publicly... 💪💪💪
Follow Tully on Instagram @tully_kearney
Shoutout to Tully's previous coach Graeme Smith, and physio Ritchie Barber 💗💗💗