A veteran competitor in athletics, Jonnie Peacock MBE plans to continue giving it his all. His competitive spirit is alive and well. In the 2016 Paralympics in Rio he won gold in the T44, 100m race. His right leg was amputated when he was 5 years old after contracting meningitis.
During a school trip to a Talent Identification Day in London, Jonnie was exposed to various kinds of Paralympic sports, such as wheelchair tennis and pistol shooting. Since then, he settled on pursuing athletics, in particular sprinting.
“When you think of the Olympics or Paralympics you automatically think of the 100m sprint and that feeling of people running as fast as possible. It’s so exhilarating."
Athletics is comprised of various categories, including relay and javelin. Athletes with different disabilities can compete in running events. For instance, those with lower limb amputations wear special prosthetics, or visually impaired athletes run with a guide.
Exceling as a sprinter
In the 2012 Paralympics, not only did Jonnie go home with a gold medal, he also set a Paralympic record time of 10.90 seconds, and that was undoubtedly the highlight of his career.
“It was amazing and I don’t think anything will beat that in the future."
In getting ready for the 2016 Paralympics, Jonnie resumed his previous training regimen. One of his favourite workout routines is doing a speed session outdoors to “feel the speed.” Jonnie also continues to push himself to the limits. “[I try to] emulate how they train on the Olympic side,” he shares. “If anything, I train as hard, if not harder than some of those guys.”
To potential athletes, Jonnie says:
“The first thing people need to do is to stop looking at yourself as a disabled person. Find something you enjoy and commit to it – don’t go crazy and do it 20 times a week. Just start by doing it a few times a week and take it from there.”
His advice is to simply “go out there and do what you want to do.” Once you take the first step, you’re well on your way to success.
Ultimately, being a Paralympian is Jonnie’s greatest dream and achievement. “The fact that I can train for a living [is the best thing about being a Paralympian]. I wake up, train and go home, every day. I wouldn’t change that for the world,” he shares.
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