Going for Gold: Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty on his hopes for Tokyo 2020 glory

When you think of British stars competing in Tokyo, few shine as bright as Uttoxeter's Adam Peaty.

No other Team GB athlete can claim to dominate a sport as much as he has since he burst onto the scene.

His medal history and record breaking achievements are eye watering. 

An Olympic Champion, thirteen times record breaker, an eight times World Champion, sixteen time European Champion, three time Commonwealth Champion and much more besides.

Quite simply, there has been no one who can touch the breaststroke specialist. 

Adam Peaty is an Olympic Champion and thirteen times record breaker Credit: ITV News Central

You would think that all the accolades, awards, medals and records would put pressure on the swimmer to perform and perhaps even create an air of arrogance around him. I can tell you as someone who has interviewed him twice this year, neither of those are true.

Peaty is supremely confident, of that there is no doubt and when we've been speaking, he talks about completely dominating a sport and not just winning, but winning well. But he really does take whatever pressure there may be on him in his stride.

He has the utmost faith in his ability matched by the knowledge that if he performs to his best, he will win.

All this means that his standards are very high but he also stays very much grounded and in our last interview he openly talked about family life and about what drives him.

Life has certainly changed since Rio 2016 when he won Gold and Silver for Team GB in Breaststroke and the 4x100 medley.

He has a little boy now and it's altered his perspective- clearly cherishing the double life he leads being an elite athlete but one who now goes home, closes the door and dotes over his child. 

Adam Peaty is considered to be one of the top 20 Olympic athletes in the world right now Credit: Team GB/PA

All this means that interviewing Peaty is an interesting experience. He had no issue answering difficult questions about the Games and the possibility of not being welcomed by the Japanese public due to the Pandemic.

On the prospect of people wanting to beat him and see him lose, he brushed it off and revelled in being a marked man.

There was no hint of arrogance in his answers, just straight up honest confidence and any professional athlete will tell you that's the mentality you need to be successful. 

When Adam Peaty gets into the pool, he will be competing not just for Team GB, but the whole of the Midlands too.

He has a foot in both West and East camps coming from Uttoxeter, starting his journey at the City of Derby Swimming Club and now living near Castle Donington and calling Loughborough his training base.

He even walks from home to the University and back, before and after training to keep himself sharp- such is his commitment to the cause.

There's also little doubt that he will have inspired not just his team mates, but many more aspiring swimmers in the Midlands with his success, approach and work ethic. 

Adam Peaty with fans Credit: ITV Central

But where did it all begin?

Well, it was as a 15 year old that his potential was starting to emerge. British and multi medal winning swimmer turned coach, Melanie Marshall, saw something special in Peaty whilst watching him breaststroke.

Recently she told me it was his 'amazing technical presence' that set the youngster apart even back then and she believed in him from the outset. 

But don't be mistaken, Adam and Melanie aren't taking anything for granted. She is still teaching the swimmer new things to stop complacency creeping in and to keep him on top.

Whilst Peaty feels little pressure, his coach usually finds herself taking on that herself. His mantra of not just winning, but winning well has also developed as a result of his relationship with his mentor. 

And yet after all this success and all the expectations that others have of him, there will be an argument that anything less than Gold in Tokyo would be considered a failure. For family, friends and for his coach, this won't be true.

Instead, it is about his overall journey and the sacrifices he has made to get to where he is.

Adam Peaty with his coach Melanie Marshall Credit: ITV Central

His rival James Wilby was quoted as saying that Adam was 'brilliant, but beatable' and the athlete admits he is, but says he has not met anyone who can do this at the events and at the time it really matters. 

Adam Peaty knows that the only way to guarantee that this doesn't change, is to be at his best.

Nothing is ever a given in any Olympic event but back to back Olympic golds would mean he makes British history and will go down as one of the greatest athletes this country has ever produced.

If he does that, expect a World Record too- winning Gold simply won't be enough for the man with the ambition that matches his own talent. 

You can watch the full interview here:

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