London 2012 Paralympics: Weir the inspiration for Bushell’s gold
Wheelchair sprinter Mickey Bushell upgraded his Beijing silver to gold in London last night with victory in the T53 100 metres.
The 22-year-old world record holder got off to a flying start and raced away from the field to win in a new Paralympic record 14.75 seconds. Bushell was 0.34secs clear of the field as he convincingly claimed Great Britain’s fifth gold medal in the Olympic Stadium. He was born with seven vertebrae missing from the lower part of the back.
Bushell, whose win took Great Britain’s athletes’ total medal tally to 12, revealed he had been inspired by watching David Weir’s 5,000m victory.
He said: “Gold was the only thing I wanted. It’s been a long, hard four years. Last night I watched Dave Weir and as he crossed the line I was bouncing off the walls in my room. He’s been a massive influence – just as a team-mate, he’s been there for me. He was there for me in Beijing as well, even with all the stuff he had to deal with as well. He’s a fantastic guy, a great role model to look up to.”
On the race, he said: “It was fantastic. It went a lot better than I thought. The crowd were fantastic, they definitely pushed me on. I nearly cried coming through the line.”
Bushell will go for a second gold in the 200m, but admitted this was the title he craved. “This is my stronger event. This is the one I wanted,” he said.
Chantal Petitclerc, who won 14 Paralympic gold medals for Canada and is now working as a coach and mentor to the British team, revealed Bushell’s win brought tears to her eyes.
Petitclerc has helped athletes from across the disciplines, but has a particular affinity with the wheelchair racers, having been one of the best-ever herself. She said: “I was crying. We’ve spent the last two weeks together and you get attached to these boys and you want them to do well. He was brilliant, really brilliant.
“That’s a really fast time for this track today.”
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