Six year old POD has seen videos of Jonnie Peacock MBE win Gold in the T44 Men’s 100 metres at London 2012 and again in the 2016 Rio Paralympics Games. She knows he got poorly and lost his leg below the knee when he was five but went on to be one of the fastest athletes on the planet. His time on Strictly meant she got to see him learn a new dance every week and with that came a new line of questioning. We talked about Jonnie Peacock a lot over those eight weeks, not just when Strictly was on, and we continue to do so. It’s unlikely we would have had the same in depth discussions about amputees had he not been on the programme.
Earlier this month we went to the Celebrity Winter Wonderwheels event. Part of the Superhero Tri series, the npower Winter Wonderwheels relay is for the every day superhero. Teams can cycle, run, walk or be pushed around and there are 3 distances to choose from – a lakeside dash (1k), once round the lake (5k) or twice (10k). It took place at Lake Dorney in Windsor which is well known for it’s Olympic heritage and provided the ideal backdrop.
Jonnie was one of the 20 celebrity team captains with others including Susie Rodgers MBE (Paralympic swimming champion), David Weir (seven-time London Marathon winner and six-time Paralympic champion), Adam Hills (Comedian and talk show host) and Kadeena Cox (Sprinting and cycling Paralympic champion). We were there to support a colleague from Zoggs who was on Chris Jones’ team. Chris is a former soldier and die-hard adrenalin junkie as well as being a World Champion Surfing Medalist and Invictus Games athlete.
We’d told POD Jonnie Peackock would be there but caveated that with the reality that we might not see him. As it happens we walked past him and POD was thrilled – she gave him a huge hug! Typically she mentioned Strictly rather than his incredible sporting achievements but she was so excited, it’s a miracle she managed to speak at all. Thank you to Jonnie for stopping for a photo when he was just about to eat – I suspect she would have run after him otherwise!
We had an absolute blast at the npower Celebrity Wonderwheels Relay, there was a superb atmosphere and a great feeling of community. It was also a lot of fun despite being a particularly chilly day. POD was unsurprisingly impressed with Father Christmas. She also got to meet Susie Rodgers, Chris Jones and Adam Hills.
Once the races had finished we saw Jonnie Peacock sit down and write a note for a little boy with a blade. He was perhaps five years old and we’d seen him run with his dad earlier. Although we’ll never know what Jonnie wrote and nor should we, what an inspirational thing to do. He could have just signed his name and walked off but he didn’t. POD refers to Jonnie Peacock as her hero and as role models go, we’re more than happy with that.