Jody was born with a deformed right foot which was amputated at the age of 3. He was then fitted with an artificial leg, and hasn’t looked back since. He had his first swimming lesson aged 5 at school and ended up being rescued from the bottom of the pool! After that his parents enrolled him into the local swimming club where he learnt to swim. At the age of 10 he raced for the first time for Kings Lynn swimming club.
His International debut came in 1994, representing Great Britain at the World swimming champs. He took 4 seconds off his best time to surprise everyone and take the gold medal in the 100m Butterfly, this would be the first of 23 (14 gold, 4 silver and 5 bronze) International medals he would win in a swimming career spanning 10 years. His most memorable swimming result was winning the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Jody used to be a member of Hatfield swimming club, and trained alongside fellow Ironman pro Natalie Barnard.
In 2006, moved from swimming to cycling, competing at international events in the C4 disability category. Winning gold in the kilo in his debut at the 2006 world championships, he repeated this feat in 2007 and 2009 also taking the team sprint title at both events.
Representing Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, Cundy broke the world record on the way to winning the gold in the 1km Time Trial with a time of 1 minute 5.466 seconds. This made him one of only a handful of athletes that have become Paralympic champion in two different sports.
He was selected for the Great Britain team at the London 2012 Games. Cundy was expected to win gold in the C4/5 Men's 1 km time trial, but due to the starting gate not working properly he unfortunately slipped and was out of the race.
Not only has Jody won numerous International medals for both swimming and cycling, but in 2009 he was awarded an MBE for his achievements.
Jody Cundy kindly agreed to take part in our Q&A interview:
Name: Jody Cundy
Occupation: Professional athlete
Favourite Events: Kilo/4k Pursuit
How did you first become in interested in athletics?
I first became interested in sport through school, trying all sports I loved every second. Then I started to get competitive opportunities at my swimming club and didn’t look back after that.
What is your best performance to date?
My gold medal swim in the 100m Butterfly final in Sydney 2000, and the 1km TT in Beijing 2008
What is your most important training session?
They’re all important for different reasons, but the one that makes you dig deep every week is Rolling 500’s, for some reason most of the squad do them on a Friday, so Rolling 5 Friday, is a session we all look forward to and dred in equal amounts. Basically it’s 4 x 500m efforts on a gear usually higher than race gear, with 30mins rest between. We roll in at 35-40km/h and then smash it as hard as you can for 2 laps of the track. Doesn’t sounds like much, but it’s certainly a tough session, especially for the out and out sprinters.
What is the most impressive/craziest training session you have ever known somebody complete?
I can’t remember the specifics of it, but I remember watching the GB Team Pursuit squad preparing for London when they were in there “Boot Camp” phase, and some of those sessions were savage to watch, goes to show it’s all worth it when you see how fast they rode in London.!
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Well I have World Championships in 2 days, so that’s pretty high on my agenda. It’s the first major championships after London, so will be a good hit out and judge where our Rio preparation is compared to the rest of the world. I think for the rest of the year it will be continuing to work on my Kilo and Pursuit, and try to put in some good performances in the Nationals at the end of September.
What is the most memorable athletics event you have ever watched?
Michael Phelps winning 8 Golds in Beijing, with the 4 x 100 Freestyle relay where Lezak pulled out an amazing anchor leg to keep Phelps on target for 8, my personal highlight.
Which athlete do you most admire?
Currently the performances of Francois Pervis have been hard to ignore, winning all 3 sprint titles at the recent worlds and breaking the 200m and 1km WR’s in the space of 4months. It’s impressive to see. Before that I was fortunate enough to have trained alongside Sir Chris Hoy, and he was a great role model to look up to, train with, learn from and watch race.
Where is your favourite venue that you have competed at?
Sydney International Aquatic centre, and it’s 17,500 spectators, and the London Velodrome with its constant wall of noise that followed you round the track as you raced. Both were pretty epic.
What is your favourite:
Book: ‘I’m not a big reader, but I did enjoy the Steve Jobs biography'
Film: ‘Shawshank Redemption'
TV Show: Got a few, the joys of being a full time athlete! Entourage, Game of Thrones, Suits, Breaking Bad, House of Cards and Dexter
Shameless Plug – Is there anything going on in your life that you would like to mention?
I wish I had something to shamelessly plug, but sadly not, instead follow me on twitter (@jodycundy) and if I think of anything I’ll shamelessly plug it there!
Question from previous person to complete Q&A (Olympian Gemma Steel) -
If you were not a sportsperson what would you have been instead?
I’d of loved to have been a car designer, or work in a racing team.
What question would you like to ask our next athlete to complete our Q&A?
What gets you out of bed in the morning to do your sport?
If your next race had to be done in fancy dress, what outfit would you choose?
Given all I’m remembered for is my swearing and outburst from London 2012, think it’d be rude not to be dressed as the Incredible Hulk!
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