‘I threw the toys out of my pram like McEnroe at Wimbledon’ - Jody Cundy reviews his Paralympic year

AFTER celebrations, tears, a medal and the odd swear word, five-time Paralympic champion Jody Cundy reflects on the biggest year of his career in a review of the London 2012 Paralympics.

Wow, it’s almost over.

All the hype and build up to 2012, the Olympics, the Paralympics, and here we are about to head into 2013. What a year for sport, and how amazing to have played a small part in it.

After a 10-day training camp in Majorca, a spot of Adidas modelling in the Tower of London and a lot of publicity work with Sainsbury’s and Channel4, I travelled to the holding camp in Newport before the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

I raced personal best times in pretty much every session in the holding camp and things were looking good. The one little hiccup was a crash on day two, but I survived with just a friction burn on my hip and elbow. A massive relief considering I hit the deck at 75kph.


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Then it was time to race, with the kilo (1km Time Trial) up first. I was ready to go. With all my competitors going before me I was feeling really confident as I stepped on the track. I just needed to race at my best and that was it.

Unfortunately it all started to go wrong in a big way.

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I made my start just as I have countless times in training, however something was wrong. The gate held me. The next thing I know I’m wheel-spinning and going sideways. Not ideal.

So I stuck my hand up and called for a mishap, pulled off the track and got ready to take to the start again.

However that was it. I was unfairly denied a second start, and that was it. A big fat DNF next to my name.

What followed wasn’t my proudest moment, but it will go down in Paralympic history in the same way as John McEnroe’s outburst at Wimbledon in 1981.

I basically threw all the toys out of my pram at anybody who would listen, in denial that I wouldn’t be defending my kilo title. I was removed from the velodrome.

Knowing I was out of order, I wanted to apologise and try to put things right - at least to all the kids that had witnessed my foul-mouthed tirade.

So a little later I came back out to apologise to everyone in the crowd, then to the sponsors and governing bodies and organisers in a press conference and media scrum.

Finally I headed back to the village as I had to compose myself and come back and race the 4km Pursuit the following day.

With the crowd behind me, I ripped around the velodrome in qualifying to a new British Record and third best time. In the final I made short work of my opponent and took bronze with an overtake in under six laps.

I covered the first 1km quicker than the winning time from the previous day.

Considering the disappointment the day before, and the fact I hadn’t focused on the pursuit as I placed all my eggs in the kilo basket, a bronze medal really did feel like winning gold.

London will always be memorable for me for some amazing highs and some equally amazing lows.

I’m glad I can say I was there and I won a medal in front of the best and noisiest crowd anyone can ask for.

2013 will be a really important year for training as I plan my revenge in Rio.

On the way to 2016 I have also set myself the ambitious target of riding for England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

So the hard work starts again, and my motivation is sky high.

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