“I’m determined to set a new standard in Paralympic running….. My aim is to use London 2012 as platform to inspire people from all walks of life” These were the words of 36-year-old Richard Whitehead from Nottinghamshire. On Saturday 1st September at the London 2012 Paralympics, he did just that. Thousands were inspired by the British athlete who won the Gold medal in the 200m T42 Athletics on Saturday in record time. Richard gained a new level of respect when he declared he was dedication his victory to his fellow sportsman, Simon Mellows from Woodborough who had died from sarcoma, a rare cancer that mostly affect the limbs neck and head.
Normally a marathon (long distance) runner, Richard had to take to a different style of running (short-distance) and despite this, still came first. In his own words, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Having slipped at the start of his race, Richard made what could be called a miraculous recovery, going on to secure a gold medal at the end. Hailed by the 60,000+ crowd as he crossed the finish line, Richard gave a two-gun salute in victory. Richard is an example of pushing past the odds and his victory is an encouragement that will stir up many hearts.
Just as Anthony Ogogo, Nick Dempsey and many others had post boxes painted in their honour, the Royal Mail decided to celebrate Richard Whitehead’s win by painting a postbox gold in his home village; Lowdham. Richard said it was Simon who inspired him to take up running and still continued playing cricket, even after having his leg amputated because of his illness. Truly an inspiration to all who hear of these great men.
With two amputated legs, Richard Whitehead is a record holder in the 200m, half-marathon and marathon for double amputees. An applaud of respect is due to him and with the 400m and 4 x 100m still to run, we wish Richard Whitehead the best for the races to come.