I've struggled with negative body image my entire life. Born missing my left arm and then at 18 months of age suffering third degree burns to 14% of my body after knocking boiling water on myself while struggling to get used to a prosthetic arm. I grew up looking and feeling different - in a society where so much emphasis is placed on physical appearance and the desire for perfection - I felt isolated and alone.
Like the rest of the nation, I was gripped by the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. I've witnessed incredible achievements and developed a passion for sports like taekwondo, Keirin cycling and Finn class sailing that I hadn't seen before, but that had me on the edge of - and frequently leaping out of - my seat.
It's that time of the four year cycle that Olympic athletes get compared to our more regular, familiar, stars. As comparisons go, it's hugely unfair. Predominantly it's footballers, but the prima donna attitude of other stars such as Kevin Pietersen has seen sportsmen in a whole variety of disciplines compared too.
On Monday morning, 6 August, at approximately five minutes past ten a 30-year-old Italian will take to the track to compete in her very first Olympic Games. To the ranks of media her name will just be one of many on a list. Indeed when I tried to sell her story to the British press, they didn't have room to tell it.
Reading about the athletes reminded me that such pride and inspiration is a key ingredient of the Olympics. These people have worked unbelievably hard to reach the top of their game and in the coming days they'll be competing at world-class level, representing their country, in front of their home crowd.
We at the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation believe that the London 2012 Olympics will be the best ever for women. These are some of the reasons why...