Paralympic Diary: My golden week, by Jonnie Peacock


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The Independent Online

Sunday I have my leg off for the whole morning because I've got a spot on it. It's a hair follicle infection, and it's quite sore because it's on my stump, which is weight bearing. I sit in the village getting bored and my motivation starts to go down. Then [GB javelin thrower] Scott Moorhouse and [sprinter] Richard Whitehead say they're going to the stadium, so I go with them. I watch David Weir win the 5,000 metres. The atmosphere is so incredible that it really lifts me and makes me want to compete.

Monday My last rest day. I wake up at about 11 and have my leg off almost all day. I watch a bit of the Paralympics and then put on a bit of E4 to take my mind off it. Just some light comedy to let my brain mellow down until I go to the food hall for dinner. I have some steak and veg and a little bit of rice. I go to bed at about midnight and can't sleep until 2am. I keep thinking about what will happen if I win and what will happen if I don't.

Tuesday I do a small warm-up to get the legs ticking over. Not much impact stuff but just enough to get ready for my heat. I go back to my apartment and chill out. It's time to start focusing. I get back at around eight in the evening. I put Scrubs on my computer to get me to sleep, but it doesn't work. It takes me hours to get to sleep. At least the beauty of an event in the evening is I don't have to be up early.

Wednesday I'm in a bit of a crazy mood today. I'm so relaxed that I see some friends and get really hyper. I probably expend too much energy. I get to the track an hour before my heat and start warming up. I sit around chatting and laughing with my coach. Everything feels good. When I get to my blocks I just keep thinking 'Wow, I'm finally here.' I lose my focus for a minute because it is really surreal.

Thursday I wake up feeling a bit tight, especially on my hips. My coach says not to worry and that tightness can help. Going in as the fastest qualifier, I'm feeling confident about tonight's final. I chill out with mates, have a good nap and close my eyes for 40 minutes. I'm still not nervous. I really know that I'm ready for this. It's all a mental game, a case of keeping my head strong. The stadium is lit up in purply blue. I knew the crowd was going to be electric, but I didn't quite expect them to go as mad as this. I love every second of it. I have a few deep breaths and stay focused on keeping my chin in my chest for the first few strokes. When the gun goes off, I know I have a fairly decent start and by 30 metres I can feel I'm pulling away. At 50 metres, I feel I'm in the lead and that I can do it. I have to wait for the result to come up on the scoreboard because I still can't believe it. Afterwards I go for a McDonald's, but I don't touch any alcohol because I know it will be busy tomorrow.

Friday Today is so fun. I do lots of interviews, starting with Channel 4's breakfast show. It's great to have the opportunity to represent ParalympicsGB and Paralympic sport and it's great to know that people are interested in it. In the afternoon I step out on to the stage at BT London Live. I'm more nervous about this than racing. Even this crowd know who me and [wheelchair racer] Hannah Cockcroft are. I'm still teetotal, I haven't had a chance to have any alcohol yet.

Saturday I had a great sleep last night – a good 11 hours. It is still weird. I still haven't accepted the fact that all this has happened. It won't be until I've finished everything that it will feel real.

Jonnie Peacock, gold medallist in the T44 100 metres, was talking to Emily Dugan