Peaty's pride as he dedicates Olympic gold to his little boy

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Adam Peaty wins 100m breaststroke gold at the Tokyo Olympics, the first Brit to defend a swimming title at the Games
Adam Peaty wins 100m breaststroke gold at the Tokyo Olympics, the first Brit to defend a swimming title at the Games

From James Toney in Tokyo

Adam Peaty turned Team GB gold and the air just a tiny shade blue as he powered to more glory in Tokyo this morning.

Peaty defended his 100m breaststroke title from Rio and could be forgiven some fruity post-watershed language, after arriving in Japan under the heavy burden of personal and national expectation.

The 26-year old world record holder has dominated his chosen event for years - but the relief was palpable as he claimed Great Britain’s first gold of the Games, just hours after Alex Yee’s triathlon silver.

“It just means the world to me - I’ve not felt like this since 2016,” he said, after winning gold live on Eurosport and discovery+.

“It takes an athlete to be the best person on the day and who wants it more.

"I felt the pressure but I needed to put myself on edge. You can do whatever you want in your own pool but when it comes to being out here it’s not about a time.

“I was racing myself. It wasn’t about the time but the race, I wanted it more. I know they are trying to get me but that’s where the training comes in.

"I’m glad I’ve closed this chapter. There was a lot of pressure, especially being a father, but this shows even going through the worst times, you can still come back out on top.

"Thanks to the nation for being behind me for five years and my family and my beautiful boy.

“I knew it was going to take every bit of energy and I’m just so f****** relieved and apologies for the swearing!”

You sense Peaty - nickname 'The Beast' - could be forgiven anything, such as in position as the talisman of the British team.

Five years ago in Rio he delivered their first gold, there was never really a doubt he could do it again.

In a world of often relentless negativity, Peaty's positive mental attitude outlook is uplifting and inspiring - a zealot believer that the power of the possible can take you to levels you never knew existed.

"To all the parents out there, you’re doing a great job," he added. "It’s hard being a parent but it’s also the most beautiful thing I’ve ever, ever done.

"When he was born I started crying and it was the most beautiful moment for me."

Watching at home in the early hours of the morning was partner Eiri Munro, though son George-Anderson was probably tucked up in bed, plus proud parents Caroline and Mark and, of course, Mavis, who went viral as #OlympicNan in Rio.

And while pandemic restrictions meant they were no 'Peaty Party' to end all parties, as witnessed on the Copacabana five years ago, they were still cheering, celebrating and tweeting their delight from 6,000 miles away.

“I’m just so glad it’s finally over,” said Caroline. “My blood pressure was through the roof and I felt sticked with my stomach going over. The house was so quiet that we couldn’t breathe, we’re just beyond proud.”

Peaty is the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title - and true to form he's already thinking about Paris, his trademark laser focus switching to the next Games while he was still dripping wet.

"As soon as I've stopped having fun I'll stop, I'm still having fun but it's a family decision," he added.

"I'm targeting Paris and anything after that is a bonus. If I can inspire more people doing something else then I'll do that but I like to live in the present.

"Under pressure you can fold but I've shown time and time again I can perform under pressure. I felt like I was under siege for this Olympics. But looking at my boy every day that was my motivation, that was my commitment and determination."

Stream every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on discovery+, The Streaming Home of the Olympics.

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