Tokyo 2020: Swimmer Adam Peaty becomes double Olympic champion

  • ITV News Midlands Correspondent Ben Chapman speaks with Mavis Williams, British swimmer Adam Peaty's grandmother

Adam Peaty became the first British swimmer to defend his Olympic title, after claiming gold at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

With a characteristically dominant display in the final of the men’s 100 metres breaststroke at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Peaty secured Britain's first gold of the games and put himself firmly in the history books.

While he was unable to break his own world record of 56.88 seconds, the 26-year-old from Uttoxeter claimed victory in a time of 57.37secs, the fifth fastest time in the event’s history.

His supremacy remains unchallenged with closest challenger Arno Kamminga, the only swimmer other than Peaty to breach the 58-second barrier, finishing a distant 0.63s behind. Peaty’s coronation has seemed inevitable as not only is his personal best almost a second quicker than anyone else who has ever competed over the distance but he is unbeaten in major competitions in seven years.

'It's like trying to get a promotion and having to prove yourself in 57 seconds'

Writing on Twitter after claiming the win, Peaty said: "OLYMPIC CHAMPION! For my country, my son and my family.

"For those who stayed up through the night to watch me. For all those people who need a bit of light. You can get through this".

But Peaty, who swore twice while speaking to BBC Sport in an emotional poolside interview, admitted the past year, which has included becoming a first-time father, has had its upheavals.

He said: “It’s been a heavy investment. A lot has changed this last year, more than the last five.

"Becoming a father, buying my first house and some days when I woke up and was like ‘this is hard, this is really hard’.

“There’s been so many challenges, so many challenges and f****** some breakdowns as well. It’s like ‘what am I doing every single day? Why am I training three times a day, giving it everything for this swim?’," he added.

“I’ve hidden a lot of emotion from my own family, I’ve hidden a lot of stress and a lot of those moments where I was like ‘this is very, very hard'".

"I wish my family were here so they could experience this moment with me,' says Peaty

Speaking to ITV News, Peaty said: "I wish my family were here so they could experience this moment with me, but I guess we'll have to wait till 2024 now."

But his family made their emotions clear, with mum Caroline Peaty writing on Twitter: "So glad that’s over, blood pressure must be through the roof lol x Our house was so quiet, we couldn’t breath We are beyond proud".

Ms Peaty also told ITV News: "It's a bit surreal at the moment. It hasn't really sunk in. We know that he's won. But it took ages for the one in Rio to sink in really, what it means for him. We're really proud."

Caroline and Mark Peaty made sure they woke up in the early hours to watch their son compete at home.

Asked if she was nervous at the time, the mum said: "Well, that's not even the word. I was just so tense. I really was. Mark was really quiet which was very unusual for Mark, because usually he's shouting and waving and swimming the race with him."

Speaking about not being able to be there with Peaty, Ms Peaty said: "It is a shame but I think we were well prepared for it from last year. You just accept things as they are and just do the best that you can."

She added: "We would've loved to be there with him because if he had asked us, we would've been there, no problem. But it wasn't meant to be, was it?"

Adam Peaty's mum says the thought of her son winning gold again is still 'a bit surreal'

Speaking about her son becoming a new father, she said: "He's like a train, just goes straight on, there's no room for emotions, there's no room for anything else.

"He's got that focus at the end and since George, obviously, George is his main focus now. So he says that he was doing this for George too."

When Peaty returns home, his mum says the family will have a street celebration with their neighbours and a family celebration.

Peaty's grandmother also share her joy Tweeting: "You have done it Adam a double OLYMPIC CHAMPION so proud. NAN".

Adam Peaty's nan said she was so nervous watching the race, she closed her eyes when her grandson got on the block

She told ITV News her "stomach went all over" when she turned on the TV to watch her grandson's race, but "when we got on the blocks and going to go in, I closed my eyes. I daren't look," she said.

The grandmother continued: "When they said 'double Olympic champion', I just burst into tears. I was so proud. And why I cried I just don't know."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: "Huge congratulations to @Adam_Peaty on winning @TeamGB’s first gold and making history by successfully defending his Olympic title."

“There’s a lot of emotion, I’m probably not going to sleep for a while now, I’m so buzzed because that was the first British swimmer to ever defend a title," Peaty, 26, said after his win.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist celebrated his win. Credit: PA

"You can do what you want all year round; in your own arena, in your own backyard, it doesn’t mean anything, it means everything here.

“The 99.9 per cent of time that we spend in the dark is for the 0.01 per cent we spend in light."

“That’s something me and (coach) Mel (Marshall) have always believed in. That’s why I don’t think anyone deserves it more than me and that’s not an arrogant thing”.

Asked whether he was disappointed he did not lower the benchmark over the discipline he has mastered for much of the last decade, Peaty responded:

“No, I don’t give a s*** about the time! No one thinks about times.

“Yes, it would have been amazing to finish on a world record but it’s not about that and Mel said this morning ‘it isn’t about the time, it’s about the race’ and no one races better than me”.

Adam Peaty clocked 57.37secs in the men’s 100 metres breaststroke, the fifth fastest time in the event’s history. Credit: PA

Peaty's Gold is Team GB's fourth medal of the Games so far, three days in to the sporting action.

Britain is eighth in the medal table with one gold, two silvers, and a bronze.

Chelsie Giles was first to put Team GB on the medal board, with a bronze in the judo.

Bradly Sinden, on his Olympic debut, took home a silver in the men's -68kg category taekwondo.

While Alex Yee maintained Britain's Team GB's unparalleled record in triathlon, taking home a silver.