David Weir, winner of four gold medals from the London 2012 Paralympics, has admitted that he nearly gave up during his marathon win this summer, writes Jan Kapcia.
Weir, who trains at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, spoke of the emotion involved during the Games and his battle whilst competing in the race.
“The first five miles were really tough and I couldn’t cope with the emotions and people being out watching me and hoping I’d get a fourth gold medal. It was very hard to get focused.
“I was going to give up about five miles in. I just couldn’t cope with everything, was struggling a little bit. I just had to dig deep and forget about the race and what I’ve got to do.”
Thankfully, Weir’s years of hard training paid off and he was able to land his fourth gold of London 2012, a remarkable achievement.
“Yeah I wanted that fourth to round it off. I knew I could do it and I didn’t let anyone down. A couple of days before I was saying, ‘whatever happens on the Sunday, I’m happy’.
“I knew it was going to be tough going into the games, but I did it.”
In competing in four events, the man nicknamed ‘the Weirwolf’, knew he had to prioritise.
“My coach asked me about a year ago, which race did I really want to win, and I said ‘the marathon’.”
As this was the last event, Weir and the team at St Mary’s University had to tailor his training, switching from track to road training.
“The guys in the science labs, the facilities, my physio is based there. They all help me get as fit as possible. It’s been a great help.”
Citing the return to St. Mary’s following Beijing 2008 as a definite role in his success, the Sutton-born athlete knew a return to comfortable surroundings was important.
“It was such a big year for me, I had to get the training right. And I knew the only people who could help me were the people who helped me get to Beijing and win my medals, so I went back and got the support from the guys.
“The guys and my coach got it perfect for me.”
Weir also gave his view on the recent cycling petition for the closure of Richmond Park, led by nine-year-old local boy Ben Lewis-Clare.
The Paralympian was unaware of the petition but said: “Yeah it is a great idea, I’d like to see it happen. But where will people park, the people that live in the area? I come from ten miles away and you’ve got to park somewhere, that’s the only problem.”
He added: “It’s a special park, and people love it. It would be good.”
Weir also spoke of his future plans, as he will compete in the London Marathon in 2013, but needs more races and the Commonwealth Games in 2014 before deciding on the next Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in four years time.
But Weir acknowledged how far Paralympic athletes had come, largely thanks to London and the summer of 2012. He spoke of the crowd embracing the athletes at the Paralympics, and the superhuman achievements of some of the athletes.
Now with a BBC sports personality of the year nomination, Weir said: “To have three Paralympians on there, shows you we have done something this year.”
He continued on the nomination, a great end to an historic year. “It’s been going for so many years, and to see the top names that have won it and just to be nominated, is superb.”
But Weir could not be drawn on his own chances, referring to anyone who has been nominated having a chance of winning the prestigious prize, adding: “I’m just honoured to be in the top 12.”