Peacock eyes Rio
The sprinter knows the cross-over would be difficult
Last Updated: September 7, 2012 3:53pm
Jonnie Peacock: Pondering the prospect of competing at the Rio 2016 Olympics
Sprinter Jonnie Peacock is pondering the prospect of competing at the Rio 2016 Olympics after his dominant victory in the T44 100m blue riband event at the London Paralympics.
After a powerful start, Peacock, 19, crossed the finish line in 10.9 seconds to win gold at the Olympic Stadium.
It was half a second behind his world record mark but a decisive victory over South Africa's Oscar Pistorius in fourth place, who has become an international name partly through his drive to compete at the Olympics as well as the Paralympics.
Peacock, who races with a right leg prosthetic, said "never say never" but realistically believed his start would be a disadvantage.
Peacock's leg was amputated when he was five after he contracted meningococcal septicaemia.
Pistorius, a double leg amputee, made history by competing at the London 2012 Olympics in the 400m.
"Never say never, but it would be a lot harder because of the disadvantage at the start."
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Having Paralympians cross over to compete at the Olympics does not damage the disability sport and would not clash with the Paralympic movement's need to find new role models to feed interest, supporters say.
Craig Spence, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) communications director, said: "If you look at the IPC's vision it is to inspire and excite the world. It does not say anything about where that has to take place.
"Jonnie, if he were to take part in Rio, has got to make the qualification time. We would have no issue with that and good luck to him.
"We have nothing against Paralympians crossing over in to the Olympics - it has been done for a number of years now. Good luck to them, really.
"Jonnie's personal best (PB) in the 100m is 10.85 seconds. The Olympic qualifying this year was about 10.2 so he would have to knock about half a second off his PB to be able to qualify.
"If he feels he is strong enough to qualify we do think good luck to him."
Peacock, hailed as a new superstar of the track by Olympic and Paralympic watchers, would face additional challenges if he were to line up with the world's best non-disabled sprinters.
He said: "The first 40 (metres) is going to be too slow and there's not enough time to make it back up.
"Never say never, but it would be a lot harder because of the disadvantage at the start.
"Oscar's got a 200m disadvantage at the start, but in the 100m, you don't have another 200m at the end of the race to make it up."
Polish table tennis player Natalia Partyka and South African swimmer Natalie Du Toit are among the Paralympians who have made the cross-over, ensuring they performed to a high standard in the process.
The wave of Paralympic athletes able to compete against non-disabled opponents on the big stage is an indicator of widespread improvement in performances, according to Mr Spence.
However, he added: "You have got to consider that there are certain Paralympians who cannot cross over into the Olympics.
"Jonnie is lucky that he could potentially do his event in the Olympics.
"David Weir (the T54 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m wheelchair Paralympic champion at London 2012) could not cross over to compete in the Olympics because of the nature of his injury.
"Generally around the world, if you say to somebody, 'name me a Paralympian', internationally they would always say Oscar Pistorius - that is great for Oscar but we need more than one role model to promote the movement.
"If you asked that same question in the UK before the Games, they would probably have said (11-time Paralympics athletics champion) Tanni Grey-Thompson and (swimmer) Eleanor Simmonds.
"I think if you were to ask that question of the British public now they would probably be able to say half a dozen names. Jonnie Peacock and David Weir would certainly be on that list."