Paralympic profile: Jody Cundy, Cycling

 

Sir Chris Hoy might have packed his bags and left the Olympic Village, but that doesn’t mean that Team GB’s domination of the London velodrome is over. Jody Cundy MBE, 33, who clocked up 23 international swimming medals before switching to two wheels and securing two golds in Beijing, is out for more. He faces stiff competition, however, from John-Allan Butterworth, another member of the cycling team that represents, as with the Olympics, Britain’s biggest hope for gold medals.

Cundy was born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, with a deformed foot which was amputated when he was three years old - a straightfoward tale compared with the life-changing events that begin some Paralympic careers. “In the Paralympics everybody has a story,” he said, “so if you’re born with it like me, it’s kind of boring.”

His sporting achievements, by contrast, are far from dull. Having nearly drowned during his first swimming lesson aged five, he persevered and was racing competitively for Kings Lynn Swimming Club by the age of 10. His international debut came in 1994, aged 16, when he represented the UK at the World Swimming Championships and took seconds off his best time to take gold in the 100m Butterfly. Thirteen further swimming golds, plus four silver and five bronze, made Cundy one of Britain’s most decorated athletes ever - before his cycling career even began.

His potential on that front was spotted in 2005, after a ride at Newport velodrome. Cundy was invited to try out for the 2006 Paralympic cycling World Cup squad while still swimming on the GB team, and made the grade. He was part of a team sprint trio which won gold and set a new world record, at which point he hung up his goggles. He has only been in the pool 10 times since that day, he says.

Cundy won his first individual gold medal at the Track World Championships in Aigle, Switzerland in 2006, breaking the world record in the process. He has gone on to become the fastest solo Paralympian on a bike, winning multiple medals, including two golds in Beijing. In London, his fifth Games, Cundy hopes for yet more medals, and will compete in two individual and possibly one team sprint event in the C4 class.

But he also hopes to take away something more than titles. Cundy wants status and recognition - not just for himself but for Paralympians across the board, and knows London is a huge opportunity for athletes like him to become household names.

“At last people are recognising what goes into Paralympic sports. These Games are massive, so that means much more pressure, but is also an opportunity for athletes like me to shine. I hope it won’t be about sad stories. We want to be on the back pages not in the glossy magazines.”

Changes to the events programme, classification system and improvements within other teams means Britain’s cyclists will find it difficult to replicate their haul of 17 golds from Beijing. “We know we’re in a better place as a team but we probably won’t come home with as many medals,” he says.

Cundy’s attitude towards those seeking to steal his spot at the top of the sport is simple: bring it on. “I am trying to stay one step ahead and keep on top of it all,” he says, “but the competition is good for me.”

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower