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.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Arts and Entertainment
(L-R) Amanda Peet as Tina Morris, Melanie Lynskey as Michelle Pierson, Abby Ryder Fortson as Sophie Pierson, Mark Duplass as Brett Pierson and Steve Zissis as Alex Pappas in Togetherness
TV First US networks like HBO shook up drama - now it's comedy's turn
Travel
Pool with a view: the mMarina Bay Sands in Singapore
travel From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
News
The will of Helen Beatrix Heelis, better known as Beatrix Potter, was among those to be archived
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
News
Nigel Farage: 'I don't know anybody in politics as poor as we are'
i100
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

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect