By Jacquelin Magnay – Olympic Stadium
Jonnie Peacock was so stunned when he crossed the finish line of the Paralympic amputee 100 metres final he looked immediately to the scoreboard for confirmation.
Had he really just demolished a class field including the former world record holder Oscar Pistorius, young gun Blake Leeper and the 200m victor Alan Oliveira?
Said the world’s newest speedster: “It was absolutely surreal, I didn’t believe it when I crossed the line and I wanted to see it on the scoreboard.” The crowd was chanting his name. David Bowie’s Hero was blasting and Peacock suddenly broke into a broad smile. Straight away he was more concerned about his time – about three tenths off what he thought he could run. He clocked 10.9sec.
“What was the wind reading?” he kept asking officials. When told the conditions were flat and no wind at all, he professed disappointment. “I should have run quicker, I should have run faster than that. I am not very happy then.”
Peacock, 19, said he didn’t have nerves before the race, and the only doubts about winning the race occurred at the 60m mark.
“I knew I was in the lead but thought ‘oh dear this is when Oscar comes back’ and Blake is really fast at that point too. It was worrying, that was my biggest mental battle, I needed to stay strong, but that’s when you see me rocking a bit.”
Pistorius, who finished outside of the medals in fourth place, acknowledged the T44 class of competition had crossed a generational divide.
“I was a little bit disappointed not to be on the podium but to be part of a race like that is inspiring,” said the South African, admitting to being tired in his fifth race of the week.
“Tonight this was one of the best races I have ever been in, all of the athletes in this field will be household names. But there is something definitely happening in the Paralympic movement that is making me emotional. I don’t mind if I don’t finish on the podium if the sport is getting better and better.”
Pistorius promised a special race in his favoured 400m distance in tonight’s heats and Saturday’s final. “I promise you something special for that,” he said.
Peacock said he could still remember racing Pistorius at the 2010 BT Paralympic world cup where he was in an adjoining lane for the 100m race.
“This guy is the legend and I was in the lane next to him, I took a big chunk off my time and my coach said to me, you will start to plateau and nearly three years later I still haven’t hit that plateau.”
Meanwhile the silver medallist Richard Browne of the United States praised Peacock’s cool-headedness in the midst of the crowd frenzy and predicted that Pistorius will be back in the 100m medals very soon.
“To perform how he did was amazing and we are going to see amazing things from him in the future,” Browne said.
“I think this is new generation, a new wave of athletes that will be around for a very long time.”