Paralympic bronze something for Norfolk cyclist Jody Cundy to smile about
A day after his Paralympic dream dramatically came crashing down, Norfolk cyclist Jody Cundy restored some pride with a superb bronze medal-winning performance.
Cundy put the frustration of his controversial false start in his favoured one-kilometre time-trial event behind him to reach the individual C4 pursuit podium in the London Velodrome.
Cundy was just too good for his Colombian opponent Diego Duenas in the bronze-medal race, and overlapped him shortly after recording 1:05.317 minutes at the 1km mark – a time that would have been good enough to retain his Olympic time-trial title a day earlier.
The fallout from his public show of emotion after failing to race in the time-trial had, said Cundy, been forgotten about somewhat with the relief of having at least one medal to show for his efforts.
'It's the wrong colour but it will do,' said the 33-year-old. 'It feels like a gold because it's a head-to-head race and pursuit finals are good fun and I went in there and gave it my all. The day before I had a fantastic opportunity to be reigning champion, unfortunately I was denied it but here we are celebrating a bronze.
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'Overnight I sat down and cried quite a lot even though I find it hard to cry and I'm not the biggest cryer in the world. 'I had a few tears and I was just trying to comprehend what it was that had happened and what it all meant.
'Four years of my life have been dedicated to performing on this stage in London, showing the world exactly what I can do. Unfortunately I didn't get to show them last time but hopefully with this bronze they got a glimpse of what is in my legs.
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'This bronze medal makes up for some of what happened in a way. The only thing I hate about the time-trial is that I just didn't get to ride and I don't know how fast I could have gone.
'Based on my training the time I could potentially have done would have been one of those that would make people go 'wow'.
'I wanted to do that to inspire people and show the world what is possible.'
The disappointment of losing the time-trial he won so convincingly in Beijing four years ago has left Cundy with some unfinished business.
Addressing the press following his bronze-medal win, Cundy was also half-watching the track as British team-mate Jon-Allan Butterworth raced for gold in the C5 pursuit.
It was clear from his demeanour how much desire he retains for glory, and he revealed he will be back for more in Rio – potentially his fifth Games -– in four years time.
'I planned for two years and maybe Rio but there is unfinished business in that event now,' he said.
'Although it's going to be hard work especially as I get older, I think it will be well worth it to come back and try and step on the top of the podium again. I have found what happened difficult to comprehend and I want to put it right.'
But Cundy admitted his disappointment that he wasn't selected for the British mixed team sprint squad.
'It's been an amazing Games filled with masses of disappointment,' he said. 'I'm gutted I never got to properly unleash my raw speed on the boards of the London velodrome. It would of been amazing, eye opening and inspiring.
'Obviously London wasn't my place to shine brightest, but I'll be back, and I feel sorry for anyone who'll have to race me from now on. But with no world track championships next year, have no idea when I'll get to race again.'
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