Friday, September 7, 2012
HE nearly died from meningitis aged five, but today former St Ivo student Jonnie Peacock is waking up as a Paralympic champion.
The 19-year-old won the hearts of the nation last night when he stormed to victory in the T44 100m at London 2012.
With the pressure of an expectant Great Britain mounting on a teenager, Peacock held his nerve in emphatic fashion.
He clocked 10.90secs - a new Paralympic record - to power ahead of silver medallist Richard Brownie and Arnie Fourie, who claimed the bronze.
Peacock’s boyhood hero, racing rival and great friend Oscar Pistorius could only manage fourth place.
The crowd, who erupted as their new hero crossed the finish line, chanted his name as he completed a lap of honour. The level of support was so high in the Olympic Stadium that Peacock himself had to encourage the crowd to be quiet before the race.
Millions watched on Channel4 as Peacock was interviewed for the first time after the biggest win of his life.
He told reporters that his performance was “not bad” and, when asked to analyse the race, he said: “At about 60m I start to think ‘oh crap I’m in the lead!’”.
The humble teenager chose to spend a large proportion of his moment in the limelight thanking those who had helped him reach the Paralympics.
He lavished praise on his coach Dan Pfaff and thanked his family, friends, sponsors, physios and even those who contributed to his funding by buying lottery tickets.
“It’s absolutely surreal,” he said. “This Games will definitely leave a legacy and to be part of that is amazing.”
Peacock said: “It’s absolutely surreal.”