David Weir: 'What next? Well I'm off to Ibiza for a party...'

The Paralympian talks to Jerome Taylor about family life, dealing with fame – and why it's likely to be all downhill from here

David Weir is used to challenges. As one of Britain's most decorated Paralympians and the most versatile wheelchair racer the world has seen, he is a man who relishes a hard won fight. But with four gold medals to his name from London 2012 – and a total of 10 of various colours since Athens – he faces a new battle. How to face the comedown from the most spectacular summer of his life?

"It will be difficult after this," he admits. "It's easier with previous games but this was the big one for all British athletes. The younger ones, they can really thrive off it and then jump to Rio, but I probably will struggle to get motivated again."

Athletes often struggle to deal with the aftermath of a major tournament, but the idea of Britain's most successful track and field star not representing us in four years' time may surprise some. Yet Weir, who at 33 is expecting his third child, has often been public about his love-hate relationship with his chosen career. He's a man who is undeniably driven, but drive doesn't make the training any easier and he is refreshingly candid about how, at times, what he excels at best often felt like chore.

"I got the love back this year, of the sport," he admits, four glinting medals hanging from a torso that is unmistakably ripped after months of intensive training.

"[Before the Paralympics] I felt like it was slowly coming out of me.

"I kept getting shoulder injuries and was ill. I just had to make sure this was the best preparation and I don't think there will be much that can match it ever."

At the moment, more training is the last thing on Weir's mind – he's not even sure whether he'll go to the world championships in Lyon next year. After all the early starts, the time away from home and the sheer pressure of performing to expectations in front of a home crowd, the next few weeks are all about catching up with loved ones.

"I just want to spend time with my friends and family," he says. "You have to enjoy this moment because it's special and it's not going to last forever."

On Friday, the south Londoner is flying off to Ibiza for a well-earned holiday. "It's with a group of friends," he grins. "It's a party holiday."

But Weir also knows he needs to take what publicity opportunities he can while the summer is still fresh in everyone's memories.

When The Independent met him yesterday morning in central London, he was four hours into a day of meeting the press. It started at a TV studio and he wasn't due to finish interviews with the written press until 4pm.

Given the monumental boost that the Paralympic movement has received from the summer games, he agrees that now is the time to capitalise. "We're on a level par with the Olympians now, which is a first," he says. "Seeing that crowd every day, talking to Olympians in the parade... Ben Ainslie was coming up and calling me an inspiration, Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins tweeting me.

"It's a great honour to be recognised as a great athlete, not a disabled athlete. That's what the Games have done." He hopes that the success of London will now encourage spectators and broadcasters to pay more attention to Paralympics sports. "I'd like to see a lot more coverage of the minority sports," he says.

"We have a few races around Europe and we have our nationals. Take the Swiss nationals. The best wheelchair racers go every year because it's organised and there's a fast track. It's like a world championship, the whole world goes there."

With our time running out, there's time for one last question: which one of those four medals on his chest are his favourite?

"Two really," he says. "The 5,000m, because it was my first. And then the marathon. It was difficult for me because I had so many events I couldn't really celebrate. I'd be like 'I've done it!' – I'd then have the medal ceremony the next day, but it would be back to preparing for the next race.

"It was really up and down with the emotions. It was only really on Sunday I could turn around and say wow, I've done something really special."

No one could disagree with that.


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers