England's Adam Peaty celebrates winning 50m breaststroke gold at the Commonwealth Games
Birmingham (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Adam Peaty says he will use his shock breaststroke defeat at the Commonwealth Games as “jet fuel” as he focuses on the Paris Olympics in 2024.
The English superstar was pushed into fourth place in the 100m breaststroke in Birmingham.
But the 27-year-old bounced back in style to win the Commonwealth 50m title for the first time in his illustrious career, thumping the water in delight as the home crowd went berserk.
Reflecting on his experience on Thursday, a day after swimming events in Birmingham ended, an exhausted Peaty said his emotions were “raw” after one of the toughest weeks of his career.
“The strategy is about really reflecting and using that hunger and that loss in the 100m to drive me into new territory,” he said.
“The spark has been reignited. I can always tell because I am a bit angry at myself but that’s how I need to be.”
Peaty holds the world records in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke and has three Olympic gold medals and multiple world championship wins under his belt.
He was forced to miss the worlds in Budapest in June after breaking his foot.
“I’ve done everything in the sport that I’ve needed to do,” said Peaty, who before these Games had never lost a 100m final at a major long-course international competition.
“I’ve broken world records that I didn’t think I’d get anywhere near so now in my career it’s about how do I finish in the strongest possible way over the next two, or four, or six years.”
He added: “I do believe that everything happens for a reason and I do believe the reason is that either someone’s looking out for me that I needed that extra drive in these next two years or, who knows?”
- ‘Motivation’ -
The swimmer, who last year competed on Britain’s “Strictly Come Dancing” TV show, said coming back to win the 50m title in front of his one-year-old son in Birmingham had been “very special”.
“Any parent, you want to lead by example and that was also my motivation to go in the 50m and win it,” he said.
“I said to myself: ‘What would you tell George? Would you just tell him to give up and go home and use this as a reason to go home?’
“No, you’d tell him to stand up, walk out with a proud chest and go and fight for it.”
Peaty said it was now time to “reset, recalibrate and decompress” after a challenging two years.
“The training has to be the priority now because I have missed two winters and don’t know how much this (Commonwealths) took out of me or how much not training in the winter took out of me so I just want to completely reset and go hard in September.”
He said it was too early to put a timescale on his retirement.
“For me so much has changed in the past two years that I can’t even predict what will happen in the next two,” he said.
“It might just completely change how I approach the sport, how my family is. I’ve got other commitments in my life, very important ones.
“I’d like to end obviously in a very good and solid position.”