6 September 2015London 2012 hero Jonnie aims for Paralympic gold in Rio and more besides
Three years ago a chorus of “Peacock, Peacock” rang out around the Olympic Stadium as 80,000 serenaded a teenager many would have struggled to pick out in an identity parade.
He did so in a Games record 10.90 seconds - so fast that Oscar Pistorius, then the pin-up boy of Paralympic sport, had no answer and finished outside the medals.
Peacock, who is still only 22, went on to become world and European champion but, a year to the day from the start of the 2016 Rio Paralympics, it is the defence of his crown which occupies his mind.
“2012 was a great time, a great experience, but I’ve ticked that box now,” said the Cambridge flyer. “Perhaps at the end of my career I can relish it a bit more but right now I’ve got more titles I want to win. I want to be a double, triple champion.”
Peacock is prepared to bet that Team GB fares even better in Rio than they did in London, where they finished third in the medal table behind China and Russia.
“We’re so much stronger,” he said. “We’ve still got the old guard but also a lot of young talent who were inspired by London and said, ‘Do you know what, I want a piece of that’.”
The London Paras were Peacock’s first major championship — and he had only started training full-time the previous winter.
He is now nearer his prime, yet standards have improved so much that he ranks fourth in the world going into next month’s IPC World Championships in Qatar.
Jarryd Wallace broke the world record (10.71) in Toronto three weeks ago, but it is world No 2 Richard Browne who has made the most noise.
The American regularly trash-talks his way under Peacock’s skin.
“It was a challenge for me at the beginning but I’m used to it now,” he said. “I know Richard is very good at it. I’ve just got to make sure I’m on the top of my game to be able to answer him on the track where it really matters.
“This winter I’m going to really knuckle down and do some serious hard work, add another 10 per cent so that when we get to Rio I am ready to rumble.”
“The Bolt-Gatlin rivalry, I’m hoping, is a good omen for me. Gatlin had been running very fast times all year but the pressure got to him in the final and Bolt won.
“Richard has also run quickly all year but look back at my career and my best times always come at the championships.”
- Jonnie Peacock is a BT Ambassador. BT is a long-time supporter of disability sport in the UK and the founding partner to the British Paralympic Association.
- Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/other-sports/athletics/london-2012-hero-jonnie-peacock-6394289