Talent, attitude, coping with pain - how 'postman' Peacock became global star

From BBC - July 17, 2017

"He's like the postman - he always delivers."

So said Aled Davies as his British team-mate and friend Jonnie Peacock prepared for Sunday's T44 100m final at the World Para-athletics Championships.

Peacock, already a double Paralympic champion, not only delivered, but wrapped the package and stuck on a bow by claiming his second world title at London Stadium.

It was a performance that cemented the 24-year-old's status as Britain's blockbuster attraction in Para-athletics.

But how has a quiet boy from Cambridgeshire, who had his leg amputated below the knee as a five-year-old after contracting meningitis, found the ingredients to become a global sprint star?

Have the right attitude - and personality

Peacock's breakthrough moment came in the same stadium as Sunday's triumph, taking his first career global title at London 2012.

He had broken the world record two years earlier, but that was in very favourable conditions and he was viewed by most as an outsider for gold at the 2012 Paralympics.

A lot of that, perhaps, came from his understated and unassuming character.

"He is not the archetypal sprinter - cocky and brash. He's a very considered guy and quite quiet," said BBC Radio 5 live expert Allison Curbishley, a Commonwealth Games 400m silver medallist.

"The first time I met him in 2010, he was with his mum, and there was a lot of hype about this guy. He was a kid and so young but you could tell there was something - good looking guy, blond hair, blue eyes, really popular with all the ladies."

Before his victory at London 2012, Peacock stood on the start line and raised a finger to his mouth to silence the crowd. Tens of thousands of people obliged.

For 11-time Paralympic champion Baroness Grey-Thompson, it was a defining moment.

"Of all the years I have been watching any athletics, he's the only person I have seen shush an audience. That was incredible. That moment set him on a different level," she said.

"He's quite humble. He gets on with it. He's great at spending time with people and kids and there's a lot of athletes who do not like that."

Be there when blades are cool

Before Peacock's emergence, South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius had put amputee athletics on the map in the mid-2000s, winning the first four of his Paralympic titles and expressing a desire to compete in the Olympics.

With Pistorius in the sporting limelight, blades - the curved prosthetics used by amputee runners - became cool.

"Until blades were starting to come through in the 1990s, amputee running was quite awkward and it was clunky to watch," said Grey-Thompson. "It did not look really elegant.

"As the blades changed you could run in the style of an able-bodied athlete. The times came down and it became more understandable for people to watch."

In 2012, Pistorius would finish fourth and almost two tenths of a second behind Peacock in the 100m.

"At that point, with Oscar Pistorius, blade running had started to become quite sexy," said Curbishley.

Be extremely talented

Cope with the pain of being an amputee athlete

But does he go to Tokyo 2020?


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