Jody Cundy swears he’s ready to bury his London 2012 demons ahead of Rio Paralympics kilo time trial
- Credit: PA
Jody Cundy finally has the opportunity to end four years of hurt as he begins his sixth Paralympics tonight.
While the Wisbech-born 37-year-old picked up a medal at his home Games in 2012 it was his disqualification from the C4/5 one-kilometre (kilo) time trial that remains the enduring image from his London efforts.
Cundy's expletive-ridden rant after being thrown out of the event he was considered the favourite to win made headlines across the world. But the lower-leg amputee has the chance to bury those demons and be part of a much happier story when he takes to the veledrome in Rio tonight during an event that gets under way at 8.30pm UK time.
'By all accounts the velodrome is now sold out, and I'm looking forward to how the atmosphere compares to the patriotic crowd we had in London,' said the former swimmer who tasted Paralympic success in the pool before switching to cycling in 2006.
'I sense it's going to be different, but especially after watching the Olympic coverage, and hearing some of the football-like chanting that was happening in the swimming pool I think it has the potential to be equally as awe inspiring.
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'Thank you to everyone who has been a continued part in my sporting career to date, friends, family, sponsors, coaches and support staff who've made it possible for me to take to the start line for my sixth Paralympic Games.
'Hopefully I can make this one memorable for the riding and not the swearing.'
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The Para-T Paracycling Team member has won three successive world kilo titles (event not held in 2013) in a row, successfully defending his crown earlier this year in Italy, following his heartbreak in the English capital.
He has been virtually unbeatable in the discipline for the best part of a decade and will be fired up to add another gold to his bulging medal collection. A more chilled out build-up to the trip to Brazil has left the Walpole St Andrew-raised star feeling ready to do battle – and far from burned out.
He said: 'The last few weeks as a team we've had an amazing preparation camp in Newport, Wales.
'The staff at the Celtic Manor and the Wales National Velodrome looked after our needs to allow us to have the most relaxed holding camp I think I've been part of in the six Paralympics I've attended.
'Other than one or two equipment hiccups, which always seem to happen in the run up to the Paralympics, everything has gone really well, myself and the rest of the team appear to be flying on the track, with everyone seemingly setting best times in the run up to Rio.
'I think it's the strongest I've ever seen a cycling team I've been part of, and certainly reminds me of the build-up we had ahead of Beijing (2008), where we went on to win 17 gold and three silver medals.
'Personally I'm really pleased with how my riding is going, and eager to take to the start line and do the ride that's in my legs.'
Cundy was born with a deformed right foot, which was amputated when he was three years old.
He wore a Union-jack inspired red, white and blue limb to celebrate being part of the London showcase and intends to dazzle again by showing off a new design in Brazil.
The former Marshland High School pupil, also in a blog post on his official website, added: 'For these Games I've had custom artwork commissioned for my carbon cycling leg, and once again the guys at Image Design Custom have gone above and beyond my expectations and produced an eye-catching sentimental design. Hopefully the treasure map on the leg leads to the gold I've been seeking for the last four years.'
In Cundy fails to produce the goods this evening he, like in London where he claimed an individual pursuit bronze, will have another chance to stand on the podium. On Sunday he will be part of Great Britain's mixed team sprint (heats start at 2.54pm).