So there you have it, Britain has its first 2016 Olympic gold medal and with it a new home-grown hero in the trimmed figure of Adam Peaty.
Smashing the 100m breaststroke world record twice in as many days (clocking a impressive 57.13 seconds in his final race), he’s emerged as one of the biggest names in the pool, who could dominate the event for years to come.
While his super fan Nan,
Mavis, might be helping to give us an insight into our new Olympic champ, here are some lesser known facts about the 21-year-old from Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. As a toddler, he had an irrational fear of water
Yep, so averse was Adam to water that he refused to sit down in the bathtub and had his mum wash him standing up. The diva.
He was a very late bloomer
Of course he eventually overcame his hydrophobia, but he was no child prodigy. Just seven years ago, aged 14, he was swimming in the slow lane of his local club with 10-year-old girls. How times have change.
Enjoys shooting an air rifle
Given how the biathlon brought together cross-country skiing and shooting, could we see an Olympics of the future entwine marksmanship with swimming? Unlikely. Even so, Adam, who was told to get a hobby by his coach and bought an air rifle:
“I’ve been gunning down a few targets. Never an animal, but I’m quite a dead eye when aiming at targets in the garden. Little things like that help me to relax and prepare my mind. You need something away from the pool because swimming is such a full-on sport. I’m training 35-40 hours a week. It’s like a full-time job so you don’t want to come home and think about swimming. It might just be chilling out or going for a walk with the dog or shooting some targets,”
Still lives at home
Expect this to change as the obligatory cereal adverts flood in. But, as it stands, Adam still lives at home with his parents in Uttoxeter. The youngest of four children, his mum, Caroline, is a nursery manager, and dad Mark, a caretaker at a nearby supermarket.
He wakes up at 4.30am and goes to bed at 8pm
Much like the Richard Bransons of this world, Adam has set himself for success by practising a strict early morning regime which sees him set a 4.30am alarm (we suspect this is the exact face he'll be pulling when it goes off). Starting off with sets of early morning clap press-ups, which might not be so good for the neighbours, he trains six days a week and is always in bed by 8pm.
He’s a big grime fan
Often listening to it before big races because he claims grime makes him “aggressive”, Adam also says it gives him an edge in other ways too, telling
“It gives you that confidence. It’s still just sick beats and you’ve got some 15- or 16-year-old kid spitting bars and you’re thinking: ‘This kid is pretty good’ and something he’s done has millions of views already. That’s what I mean about it giving you confidence. If they can stand up and do it on their own and get millions of views, it shows you that you can do anything.”
His gold could be down to his barber…
Forget the gruelling diet and early starts, much of Adam’s hair-raising performances in Rio may owe quite a lot to the man who cuts his own. Four months ago, when he wasn’t feeling so confident about his looming date with destiny in South America, one trip to the barber eventually set him right:
“I kind of told him I was doubting myself that day. That’s the way my mentality works. Before competition I start to question things. I don’t know why it happens but you’ve got to control it so you don’t get too far out of the race. I wasn’t too bad but it was a bit of a mental dip that day. My barber sorted me out right there and then. He said: ‘You’ve got nothing to worry about it. It’s simple. You’re world champion, aren’t you?”
And that’s not the only reason he goes to that barber…
“He’s a great guy and he cuts my hair for free."
It’s not the first time he’s smashed a world record
Earlier this year, Adam beat the then world record by half a second while also becoming the first man to dip under 58 seconds.
His super fan nan Mavis is a retired biscuit factory worker
Explains why she’s so - ahem – nice.
He maintains his figure by eating metal
We're joking, he doesn't (that we know of).