Adam Peaty rallied from being “at the lowest of the low” as he ended a roller coaster past few days by winning gold in the men’s 50 meters breaststroke in his final Commonwealth Games race.
Peaty’s eight-year unbeaten run over 100 meters ended on Sunday and he admitted he had expected too much of himself on his comeback from a broken foot he suffered in a training accident 10 weeks ago.
But he warned his rivals he was like a cornered lion ready to “bite” back and duly claimed the only major gold medal missing from his vast collection after touching the wall first in 26.76 seconds.
He had suggested he was “not bothered” about these Games with the 2024 Olympics uppermost in his mind but after finishing 0.21s ahead of silver medalist Sam Williamson of Australia and Scotland’s Ross Murdoch, who took bronze, Peaty straddled a lane marker and let out a huge roar of emotion.
Peaty revealed it was Murdoch who had persuaded him to continue competing in this event, 48 hours after his fourth-place finish in the 100m, which the Englishman disclosed left him close to rock-bottom.
“I was at the lowest of the low,” said the triple Olympic champion and 50m and 100m world record holder. “I had something which was almost guaranteed to be taken away from me. I took it for granted.
“I said to Ross that I didn’t want to do the 50m and he said I’d regret it for years after, for the rest of my life. What happened (in the final) was the emotion and rawness – that’s what you saw.
“I struggled because I had no race exposure. I didn’t know what I was doing. I just went down with my heart and soul. It took until now to find that. It’s been a very tough Games, a very hard Games.
“I came from literally the lowest point. But you know what, I’m a fighter. I’m not going to let anyone else come and take it. They are going to have to work hard for it. It is a sweet victory for me.”
Tell me about the Opening Ceremony
The Opening Ceremony took place on Thursday 28 July, at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium with a live audience of 30,000 and millions watching around the world. The Queen, 96, is the head of the Commonwealth but was not in attendance with Prince Charles instead stepping in. Pop legends Duran Duran headlined the music acts.