Jonnie Peacock’s sister’s poignant tale of the boy with the golden toe nails
FOURTEEN years ago, Becky Peacock was standing over her little brother Jonnie’s hospital bed. The five-year-old had meningitis and he was fighting for his life.
“I will always remember them lifting up the sheets to show me his leg before they amputated it,” said Becky.
“It was just completely black but he had gold toe nails because my sister and I used to paint them. They were gold and glittery.”
Becky, 22, saw Jonnie wearing gold again this week - but this time it was a medal. He collected it in front of 80,000 people in the Olympic Stadium at the London 2012 Paralympics.
The 19-year-old, from Doddington, stole the nation’s hearts by storming to victory in the T44 100m. Becky watched from the stands with her mother, Linda Roberts, and a host of other family and friends.
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“He annihilated them but I don’t really remember it,” said Becky. “It’s all just a big blur.
“I just screamed my heart out for 10.9 seconds. I cried for about an hour in the build up. I bawled like a baby and then they started chanting ‘Peacock, Peacock’.
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“After the race I thought I was going to pass out. A family friend had to hold me up because I was trembling.”
Becky visited Jonnie in the Paralympic village the day after the race, as the nation’s media fought to speak to ParalympicGB’s new poster boy.
She said: “It was so surreal watching my brother, the little boy that I grew up with, do all these interviews. He’s just my baby brother - and now everyone wants a piece of him!
“It has been pure, wonderful mayhem.”
Becky said she was glowing with pride for her little brother - but not just because of his sprinting. She said the teenage star had gone out of his way to thank everyone, especially his supporters.
One young fan from Doddington painted a canvas of Jonnie and the Olympic rings, which is displayed in the family home. Jonnie made sure he sent her a signed Paralympic flag.
“I’m so proud,” said Becky. “But I’m not just proud of him as an athlete, I’m proud of him as a person. Every time I listen to him talking and see the way he is, I’m proud.
“I’m biased as his sister but he is such an amazing person - not just an amazing athlete.”