Uttoxeter swimming sensation Adam Peaty has spoken to Sport in Staffs about his Olympic success and next summer’s 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, encouraging people across Staffordshire to get involved in the ticket ballot upon its launch.
The 26-year-old won two gold medals and a silver at the Tokyo Olympics, breaking a world record for the 14th time in his career in the process.
He became the first ever British swimmer to successfully defend an Olympic title in July when he won Team GB’s first gold of Tokyo in the 100-metre breaststroke.
Peaty then earned his second gold in the 4×100-metre mixed medley relay, the team coming home with a world record time of three minutes 37.58 seconds.
It marked Great Britain’s fourth gold medal of the Olympics, the first time such a feat had been achieved in 113 years.
The former Dove Valley Swimming Club member went to claim the fifth Olympic medal of his career when he earned silver in the men’s 4×100-metre relay medley.
Great Britain tallied their best ever swimming medals haul at a single Olympics, bringing home four golds, three silvers and a bronze.
Speaking to the Sport in Staffs at the launch of the Commonwealth Games ticket ballot, Peaty was full of praise for Team GB’s achievements in the pool.
“The team we’ve got is so strong, it’s so diverse,” he said.
“It’s great to be part of a team that’s very successful. Hopefully we can continue to be successful at the next Olympic games, the World Championships and Commonwealth Games next year and keep it rolling.
“It’s all about thinking about the next generation now, how you secure the next Olympic gold medallist and the next eight years and twelve years of British Swimming success.”
Goals for the the Commonwealths
Peaty set new Commonwealth records in the 50-metre (26.49 seconds) and the 100-metre (58.59) breaststroke at the 2018 Gold Coast Games in Australia.
He has three golds and three silvers at the Commonwealths and currently holds the 100-metre title.
The father-of-one, who will appear on this year’s edition of Strictly Come Dancing, revealed his objectives for the 2022 Games.
“To defend my title and see where we’re at,” he said.
“I think I need a few place markers to see where my body’s at, where my head’s at.
“Hopefully after this break and doing a bit of dancing, it might just reset me.
“I think that is what’s important, I’ve got to be extremely hungry to compete again and the hunger’s definitely building.”
Asked whether breaking his Commonwealth records was a target, he replied: “I think so.
“I always want to set a new standard, if that’s a new world record or a new Commonwealth record or a European record.
“Wherever it’s going to be I like to set new boundaries.
“So yeah, why not? It’s free to dream, right? So why not dream higher than anyone else?
“Even if you miss you’ve exceeded your expectations. Every competition I go into, I dream as big as I can.”
The return of spectators
Peaty explained how he was “extremely excited” to perform in front of fans again after a spectator-less Olympics and is looking forward to competing in England, so close to his hometown.
He added: “Fans are a huge part of the sport and for me, and for anyone who loves to race, you love the fans to support you and feel the energy, feel the adrenaline.
“Especially in Birmingham, there’ll be a lot of passion. The people of Birmingham and the people in the towns surrounding Birmingham – we’ve all got to be fully involved in these Games.
“The more involved, the better it is for the athletes, the fans, the coaches. The louder they cheer the faster I go.”
He continued: “Obviously Birmingham is not too far from Uttoxeter, so it’s pretty much a home Games as much as a home Games can be.
“So it’s very exciting, I can’t wait to be there competing and feel the energy from local people.
“Hopefully there’s going to be a few people from Uttoxeter coming to cheer on and try and get local swimmers watching these events because it’s so important that we provide these games to inspire local people and also local athletes.
“Hopefully there will be a few kids from Dove Valley watching.”
Peaty grateful for Staffordshire support
The former St Joseph’s Primary School and Painsley Catholic College student says he is looking forward to soon going back to the pool where it all began and seeing those from the area who have supported him throughout the years.
He paid tribute to his followers in Uttoxeter and the rest of Staffordshire, saying: “It’s been incredible, the support has been unparalleled.”
Peaty said he’s ready to “put on a good show” at the state-of-the-art Sandwell Aquatics Centre, a new-build for the Commonwealth Games.
But he’s also determined to inspire the next generation of swimmers to take up the mantle down the line too.
“I don’t think there’s any point doing a sport if it’s all for self,” he said.
“Self may feel good, but it doesn’t last that long.
“And for me inspiring other people to potentially change their lives – you never know where that chain reaction is going to go.
“You could change their life for a day or change their life forever, you don’t know.
“So inspiring people has always been a bigger part of the picture for me and I get a huge kick from it a huge boost when I compete, definitely.”
The opening of the ticket ballot
Peaty encouraged those in Uttoxeter and the rest of the county to get involved in the main Commonwealth ticket ballot, which is open until 8pm on September 30.
He said: “People can get into the ballot now. You can experience something that’s incredible and hopefully – even if you feel is one per cent or ten per cent – it’s going to be an incredible feeling.
“Especially those from the local area, it’s so close to Birmingham in relative terms of the Commonwealth, you pretty much couldn’t get closer.
“So everyone back home, get buying get experiencing and let’s have a good time.”
The 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games runs from July 28 to August 8 and will be held across 14 venues in the city and the West Midlands.
More than one million tickets are available for 286 sessions of sport itself as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
To apply for tickets and to learn more about the Commonwealth Games, visit click here.
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