5 minutes with Paralympic cyclist Jody Cundy
PUBLISHED: 10:45 29 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:45 29 November 2016
Paralympic gold-winning and world record-breaking cyclist and University of Hertfordshire graduate Jody Cundy on the thrill of Rio, missing Herts’ roads and relaxing with Lego
The Paralympics in Rio was a huge success for team GB. what was it like to experience?
The feeling of heading to a Games never gets old – it’s a real mix of nerves, adrenalin and honour to be out there representing your country. After hearing horror stories in the run up to the Games about things not working and not being ready on time, when we actually arrived it was a big relief to find that most things were as normal. Once the competition started it was fantastic to be part of a team where success led to more success. You didn’t want to miss out on what others were achieving, as the support in the crowds was amazing.
You were disqualified in the 1km time-trial final at the London Paralympics. what are your feelings about it now?
It still hurts, as it was that once-in-a-lifetime chance to win a Paralympic gold at home. But in saying that, I couldn’t have done more since then or at Rio to put that right, so with three world titles since London in the kilo alone and taking gold in Rio in both the kilo and team sprint, I am moving on and not holding on to what could have been.
You studied engineering & sports science at the University of Hertfordshire. what are your memories of the county?
I met some amazing friends and had many great times. My girlfriend is about to start a BA in photography that is accredited by the University of Hertfordshire, so the ties are still strong. However, I wish I could visit more often as I remember there being some amazing roads to train on with the bike.
You set up the Para-T Cycling Team to help promote disabled athletes. Tell us about that
The team is growing and we just came back with six gold medals and two bronze from the Games, so it’s packed full of talent. Para-T was created to support the growth of talent in the sport. The name comes from the word ‘parity’, which for us represents an equal playing field and opportunities to race. ‘Disabled riders’ makes it sound like these are people who struggle to ride, when in fact it’s very much the opposite. It’s about what our riders can do and being able to show this through attending events throughout the year.
You have won seven Paralympic golds – in swimming and now cycling. what advice would you give aspiring athletes?
First and foremost, make sure you enjoy what you’re doing for when times get tough. Work hard and listen to your coaches, and set yourself small goals to tick off on the way to a big goal.
What are your plans for the future?
Plans for the future are to try to make Tokyo – but I am not getting any younger as I’ll be 41 in 2020 – while continuing to promote the sport of track cycling and para-cycling and help to get the next generation of riders on bikes.
What do you do to relax away from the track?
Lately, I’ve found myself building large Lego sets. I used to play with Lego a lot as a kid, and I’ve just recently discovered the detailed large sets. Building them keeps me chilled (I think that’s the budding engineer in me). I also enjoy hitting the trails on my mountain bike.