Swimming champion Peaty heads to Olympics 'at peace' after mental turmoil

AFP , Wednesday 12 Jun 2024

Britain's Adam Peaty said on Wednesday he believes he will travel to Paris 2024 as an even tougher rival for his opponents now the three-time Olympic swimming champion is living his "true life".

Britain s Adam Peaty
File Photo: Britain s Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty. AFP


Peaty has struggled with mental health and alcohol issues since winning two golds and a silver medal at the 2021 Games in Tokyo, with the 29-year-old taking time out from the pool last year to confront his problems.

"I guess (I'm) more relaxed in my approach," Peaty said.

"A little bit more knowledgeable of myself and I guess when I look myself in the mirror I'm very peaceful. As soon as you stop running from yourself, I think that's when you start living your true self and your true life.

"And in sport terms I think that's when you're most dangerous for everyone else because you're just so at peace. I'm not afraid to lose, I'm not afraid to win. How can you beat an athlete like that?"

Peaty is an eight-time world champion and 16-time European champion, who has also broken world records on 14 occasions.

He accepts there is a balance to be struck between personal happiness and remaining an elite competitor.

"When you achieve what I have in the sport, Olympic golds and world records, that comes at a cost," Peaty said.

"We all know that sport is extremely demanding.

"I started in a place where I had to take a break from the sport, a break from life really because it's so demanding. Now I'm looking forward to Paris in a place where I put a really good qualifying time down, with a few months still to improve from that point."

Peaty, asked to sum up his approach, said with a laugh: "Peaceful down the first 50 (metres), anger on the last 50."

He added: "I haven't really won anything since 2022 or 2021. But I'm OK with that because I've been the underdog and I enjoy being an underdog, I enjoy fighting my way through the rounds.

"What I'm grateful for is, it's shown me how to lose with grace. Because before I used to lose and I'd tear everything up. I've been like that since a kid. But now at 29 years old I think I can say I have learned how to lose.

"It does suck, because I know how much I invest in myself and how much I train. You've got to lose sometimes to get those wins."

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