Adam Peaty - Britain's Greatest Ever Swimmer With The Heart Of A Lion

Peaty bounced back from 100m heartbreak with gold in the 50m
11:05, 03 Aug 2022

Adam Peaty let out a ferocious roar in the pool as he splashed around in celebration, having won the 50m breaststroke crown. It was a roar of relief, passion, and one that importantly showed he still cared, despite what critics were saying after his shock loss in the 100m. 

The crowd responded with a huge cheer of their own, and Peaty still remains one of the most popular swimmers in the pool. But this win was hugely significant for a number of reasons. One - it completed the set. Commonwealth gold completed the only medal missing for Britain’s greatest ever swimmer, but it was perhaps his bouncebackability that was even more impressive. 

The 100m loss was a shock to the system and his reaction afterwards was seen as disrespectful to the Commonwealth Games. But this is a man who hadn’t lost in eight years. A man who had completely and utterly dominated the sport. But he’s also a man that has had mental health struggles and become a dad in the last year

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“I’ve kind of lost that spark, whether it’s with my foot, but I’ll be looking to find that over the next months and into the next two years,” he said after the defeat. 

He didn’t even want to compete in the 50m, but he was convinced to take part by Scotland’s Ross Murdoch, who would bag bronze. On one of Peaty’s giant shoulders is a tattoo of a lion. It’s fitting that a creature of such power, bravery and courage would adorn a man with those very same characteristics. 

For elite sportspeople, it is not how you deal with moments of victory. It’s how you deal with moments of vulnerability. Having only been racing against the clock over the past eight years it took an elite mindset for Peaty to continue to improve, but the real test came in the midst of that defeat. 

Suddenly in an instant, his aura of invincibility had been whipped away from him. The unbeatable Brit was now human and in the eyes of his opponents, beatable. But having made it to the starting block for the 50m, there was no turning back. 

“After the 100m I was at the lowest of the low,” Peaty admitted. “I had something which was almost guaranteed taken away from me. I took it for granted. I said to Ross that I didn’t want to do the 50m and he said I’d regret it for the rest of my life. Today was the emotion and rawness – that’s what you saw.”

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” he continued. “I just went down with my heart and soul. It’s been a very tough Games. But you know what? I’m a fighter. I thought: I’m not going to let anyone else come and take it. They are going to have to work hard for it.”

Peaty is back on the top of the podium where he belongs. He’ll have learnt a thing or two about himself at these Games, and perhaps the 100m setback will reignite his love for the sport. Paris is rapidly approaching, and that could be his final farewell. For now, let’s enjoy the lionheart. The greatest British swimmer of all time.

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