Tokyo 2020 – Adam Peaty says son ‘changed my world’ to inspire back-to-back Olympic swimming gold medals
The 26-year-old won Team GB's first gold medal in Tokyo, etching another piece of history into an already illustrious career CV. Peaty's family watched on from home as he defended his title, and the swimmer made sure to highlight their importance in his incredible success.
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“I’m very much looking forward to the next two relays… but also hugging my boy, hugging my family, because it’s just as much their victory as it is mine.
“When Covid hit, Eiri [his girlfriend Eirianedd] was pregnant and I got that precious time to really bond and have the beautiful arrival of our son.
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“I cried as soon as he came out, it was such a beautiful moment. I’m such an emotional person, these things in life we only experience once, twice, or a handful of times.
“It’s changed my world and my perspective on the world as well. It’s not just swimming anymore, it’s not just racing, it’s not just doing it for a gold medal. It’s inspiring him and showing that he can potentially follow me in what I do – not just swimming, but to be resilient, to be committed, and to have that emotional intelligence that sport provides.
“It’s great to be his dad, and I’m so proud of every single day he’s growing and learning.”
On the subject of motivation, Peaty also discussed the indescribable will he had to call upon to endure some of the “dark moments” of the last five years.
He said: “It’s more than a motivation, it’s got to be – motivation alone will not get you through this journey.
I don’t think there’s a tangible word for the amount of investment that’s gone into this swim, there’s just not one word that justifies it... it’s an incredible, crazy amount.
"Through those dark moments the motivation would not be enough but it’s the consistency - the willingness to never say that ‘that’s enough’, to always push the boundaries, to always push more. If you think you’ve emptied the tank, there’s another tank to empty.
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“If someone followed me for every single day for this five years, of course it would be a lot of good times, but there’s also a lot of bad times, a lot of moments where I do just want to close my eyes… but thankfully I sit here today knowing I have pushed further.
“It’s an incredible journey, and every single journey, no matter what job you do, there’s rollercoasters in every single walk of life and being an athlete is just one of them.”
Touching the wall ahead of the Netherlands’ Arno Kamminga and Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi with a time of 57.37, Peaty was asked to put that immediate feeling into words.
“You hope you’ve touched the wall first,” he answered.
I kind of can see if I’ve won, I look left and right very quickly but when you touch that wall and then you look at the results, you take it in. You look at the time obviously but then it doesn’t matter… the moment is there and you have got to enjoy that moment for as much time as possible and just release that emotion you’ve been holding for so so long.
“We’re talking five years… a long time to wait to be able to replicate or even get close to what you’ve been doing. So a lot of relief, but also a huge amount of adrenaline and pride.”
Looking forward, Peaty still believes he is chasing the perfect swim, but is content to take some time to sit and reflect on another incredible accomplishment once he is finished with the relays in Tokyo.
“I think the opportunity may come…I know I haven’t done my best swim ever so back to the drawing board," he added.
“We take quite a bit of time off because performance is very important, but how you reflect and how you inspire people with that performance is more important.
“I’m going to take this time after the Games to reflect and to enjoy life – I’ve not lost a race in 7 years, so it does take its toll.
“I want to enjoy that family time that’s been taken away from me too.”
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