NO DISTRACTIONS: Team GB’s Peaty focused on preparation
Adam Peaty insists the prospect of becoming the first Team GB swimmer to defend an Olympic title is “not a distraction”.
The 26-year-old took gold in the 100m breaststroke in Rio, and broke his own world record en route to another at the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, in 2019.
The Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth champion has set the 15 fastest 100m breaststroke times in history, his quickest of 56.88 being a second faster than Holland’s Arno Kamminga, who set 57.9 at the Dutch National trials in May.
Ahead of the Games, which begin on Friday, Peaty said the chance of another world record was “within reach, if I get my preparation right”.
He said: “Going into these Games next week, no British swimmer has ever defended an Olympic title.
“I think that’s obviously in the back of my mind that I want to do that.
“But it’s not a distraction and obviously, as every Olympics, I want to inspire as many people as they come back home, and especially this year, when people have been through such a rough time that we can show that just because we have been through that doesn’t mean that we have to stand still, or you know, retreat, or kind of take a step backwards.
“We can always, you know, go through that adversity with a bit of British humour and say, ‘You know what? Let’s have this one.'”
Peaty said he was entering the Games in Tokyo knowing that “sport is sport, anything can happen”, but that his previous success will stand him in good stead.
He said: “I guess it’s just a by-product of what I’ve done over the last seven years, I think if you’re as dominant as I have been, without obviously trying to sound arrogant, you come to the fact that I haven’t lost a championship in the 100m in a long time.
“It’s kind of nice to go into the Games knowing that I’ve got that and I’ve got the heritage of what I have done and the history of what I’ve done and the history of being a performer when it matters.
“I think it comes down to, and it sounds very cliche, but I’m very obsessed with continuous improvement, and continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
“I don’t want to end my career and go ‘Oh, you know, I should have done that’, or ‘I should have done this’. And it’s that relationship that I have with the team and the people behind me, that makes me that person.
“But I think it’s also I just love to race, I love to scrap. And, you know, I like to dominate. That’s why I swim.”
Since his success in Rio, a lot has changed for Peaty including the arrival of his son George, now 10 months old, and he realises he is a more mature athlete.
He said: “I’ve got more energy when I come on a holding camp because I haven’t got a kid screaming or a kid to feed or a kid to hold.
“But also having more maturity… I think I have grown more in this last year than I have in the last six years.
“And I think if you look at a picture of me at Rio, and you look at a picture now, it’s like I’ve had 10 kids.
“You know, as you grow older, and you become a better athlete, and a more experienced athlete, these environments become a lot easier. And also you know what it means to bring back a gold to the country. So yeah, it’s a good position to be in.”
Peaty got a lion tattoo to commemorate his Rio win and has not ruled out giving over some space to George.
Flexing a bicep to the press, he added: “I’ve got space. I’ve always said that if he draws something quite cool, I’ll get it tattooed. So maybe.”
Watch the channel on TV