Wisbech paralympian Jody Cundy believes enforced lockdown break could have extended career
- Credit: Archant
The coronavirus lockdown may have hampered his gym training, but Paralympic champion Jody Cundy believes the enforced break could have prolonged his career.
Cundy, 41, who has won five Paralympic cycling medals as well as five Paralympic swimming medals in a career spanning almost three decades, had been contemplating hanging up his cycling boots for good after this summer’s Games.
The Wisbech star is no stranger to coming close to retirement, having previously admitted he would have bowed out had he won gold at London 2012.
But the Covid-19 pandemic has given Cundy rare time to take his foot off the gas and has made him reconsider what could be possible over the next few years.
“My gym programme has pretty much gone out the window, but I feel like I’ve had my post-Games break and now I’ve got a fresh mindset and goals to aim for,” he said.
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“Instead of having four months to fix the areas I need to, I’ve now got 12 to do that in. I’m going to be another year older, and I was getting to the point where it may well have been my last Games anyway, calling it a day afterwards.
“To have to extend it another year is hard work, we’ll see how it goes and whether I can still do it.
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“Maybe this time off and the re-evaluation of everything means I can come back the other side renewed and maybe I’ll go on a bit further than I had planned.”
When he does finish up, Cundy will have a raft of successes to look back on, from his first Paralympic medal in Atlanta 24 years ago to his most recent triumphs in Rio.
It’s the enjoyment that keeps Cundy going for now, as he aims to carry on for as long as possible.
“I feel in a good place to go back into the world of training. When you do it year in, year out it gets hard,” he said.
“I still enjoy riding and racing, if those things are still positive then there’s a good chance.
“I’ll carry on, but if it gets to the point where I know that I’ve had enough then that’ll be it. It’s going to be a crucial part of my career and I want to make the most of this next year.”
Cundy is one of the more than 1,100 athletes funded by the National Lottery on UK Sport’s World Class Programme, allowing him to train full-time and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.
“I’m fortunate that pretty much my entire career has been funded by the National Lottery, which has allowed me to perform at the best of my abilities and continue competing probably beyond a position I would have been able to had it been pre-lottery days,” Cundy added.
“I probably would have got to my thirties and that would have been it and I would have had to go out into the big wide world of work and try and earn a living that way.”
The National Lottery is the largest supporter of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and raises around £30 million each week for different causes.
For more information, visit https://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/stories.