12 August 2018Jonnie Peacock is captain fantastic in Superhero Tri Series
Jonnie Peacock has not lost his strut despite a year’s break from para athletics, pledging to swagger back into the medals again ‘before you know it’.
The double Paralympic champion from Shepreth left the Olympic Park last July with World Para Athletic Championship gold draped around his neck and vowed to take a year off.
Sitting out this month’s European Para Athletics Championship in Berlin is a small price to pay for the 25-year-old, who plans to return re-energised for the new season in October.
“After the way 2017 went, this has been a bit of a down year for me and I’m slowly getting back into it,” said the Strictly Come Dancing star.
“I took the decision to have 2018 off years ago, with seven years of back-to-back seasons when sport was my be-all and end-all.
“It’s a shame to miss out on the Europeans but I think the body and mind both needed a rest.
“I’ve just been chilling out this year whereas when you’re in athletics, there’s always something to build towards.
“In elite sport you never really switch off – what you eat, what you drink and when you go to bed matters – so it’s been nice to not have to think about those things.”
Taking part as a celebrity team captain in the Superhero Series, which is dedicated to the UK’s 13.3 million people with disabilities and long-term injuries, is perhaps the closest he has come to competitive action.
The sprinter teamed up with Superhero Series partner npower to lead a surprise training day for three budding para athletes who have won a place on his Team npower for the Superhero Tri event at Dorney Lake, Windsor on August 18.
Peacock cannot hide his amusement at the fact that six-year-old Owen Edwardes might leave him in the dust.
“This event is extra training I’m probably in need of,” said Peacock, who will compete against teams skippered by The Last Leg host Adam Hills and six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir, amongst 30 celebrity captains.
“I always tell everyone that it’s great they’ve joined my team but they’re not going to be pushing too high up in the standings.
“There are a lot of competitive people taking part but the Superhero Tri is really just about fun.
“There’s such a good vibe – it’s an all-inclusive event, there are no rules and however you need to get around the course that’s absolutely fine.”
Statistics released by Activity Alliance show that seven in 10 disabled people in the UK want to get more active but do not know the best way to do so.
Nonetheless, Peacock is a passionate champion of the Paralympic movement and the effect it is already having on disability participation.
“I think massive strides have been taken in disability sport and the whole movement has just shot up since 2012,” he said.
“In Rio, more people entered the Olympic Park across one day of the Paralympics than any day of the Olympic Games.
“That just showing you how much it’s changing. Tokyo is going to change the game and going to be something incredible special.
“Sometimes, getting disabled people involved in sport is just about them knowing what’s out there.
“In the UK I think we are actually really great at doing things like that – there’s something out there for everyone.”
More than 1,700 participants took part in the 2017 Superhero Tri, with more than 2,000 already having signed up for this year’s event.
Superhero Series gives everyone with disabilities, from total beginners through to elite athletes, the chance to find their inner super power and achieve an inspirational goal. Places are still available through firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Team npower captain Jonnie Peacock shows the power of support with an unforgettable surprise training day for his teammates ahead of the Superhero Tri on August 18.