Four years ago, in front millions of cheering countrymen and women in London, Jody Cundy exploded with expletives.
Four years of his life wasted, the C4 cyclist claimed on live television, with f-bombs sprinkled in like chocolate chips in a curse-laden cookie.
He made sure the next four years didn’t go to waste.
The 37-year-old Wisbech, England native recaptured his C4-5 1000m time trial title in triumphant fashion on Friday night as he set a Paralympic record factored time of 1:02.473
“It’s pretty special,” Cundy said following his victory. “It’s been a long while since I’ve been on top of the podium, not since Beijing. To put right the wrongs from four years ago, to beat everybody before we put the factored time involved in there, it’s even more satisfying to come away with a gold medal.”
“It still won’t be a home gold medal, but it’s a damn fine medal.”
According to his father Alan, it accomplished a goal that Jody set immediately after the disappointing finish in London.
“At the end of the day London’s gone, it’s finished, and Jody says ‘I’m going to Rio’ and I’m going with him, and here we are.”
The drive for redemption sustained Cundy as he battled through a 2014 hospital stay to make the team heading to Brazil.
“It means more to him than any other race,” Jody’s girlfriend Stacey Bayes said. “Obviously London at the time meant a lot to him, but you can’t change that, so this is the culmination of eight years for him.”
“He’s just been more and more determined, and I’ve never seen Jody as relaxed as he was at this moment,” Alan Cundy said before the race.
The six-time Paralympian laughed hearing that.
“On the outside I may be really calm, but that’s probably the most nervous I’ve been before a race,” the former swimmer said. “But without my friends and family I wouldn’t be here doing this. To know that they’re in the crowd every race is really special.”
The Cundys have followed Jody since 1996 when he won gold in the pool in Atlanta. His mother Ann helped come up with the design on his prosthetic leg, the treasure map leading to the golden prize at the end of the journey.
“She pieced it together from Para-T (Jody’s club cycling team),” Alan said.
Now that the gold is back around his neck, Cundy knows what he wants to do next.
“I want to learn how to kiteboard,” the six-time gold medallist said. “It probably wasn’t a good idea before Rio but now I want to find a beautiful beach with a bit of wind and learn how to kite-surf.”