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.”

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little