Mark Colbourne wins Great Britain’s first Paralympic medal as he takes Silver in the 1Km Time Trial on Day 1 of London Paralympic Games!
Mark Colbourne has achieved what would have been thought impossible three years ago after breaking his back in a paragliding accident; winning a silver medal in the 1km Time Trial, setting a new personal best time and gaining Great Britain’s first medal of the London 2012 Paralympic Games!
Mark was the penultimate rider to take to the boards for the C1-C3 1km time trial, and despite the pressure of it being his first Paralympic event he looked every inch the focussed, determined athlete ready to give it his all. He looked the epitome of calm as he took to the starting block and didn’t disappoint the crowd as he rode a very fast kilometre, finishing with a factored time of 1.08.471 in second place. Li Zhang Yu of China won gold with a C1 world record of 1.05.021.
Despite knowing he was guaranteed a place on the podium, he still had the nerve-wracking wait for final rider Rodrigo Fernandez Lopez from Argentina to race before he’d know whether he had won a silver or a bronze Paralympic medal on home soil.
Lopez started well but finished with a time of 1.10.689 seconds, confirming Mark’s hopes of securing his first ever Paralympic silver medal in front of a home crowd. His elation didn’t stop there, as shortly after finishing he was told he’d not only beaten his personal best time for the kilometre, but he had also won Great Britain’s first Paralympic medal of the games so far!
Speaking after his silver-medal win, Mark recalls how he felt after his paragliding accident in 2009, “I didn’t even know if I would ever walk again due to the damage that had been caused to my spine. It was a very slow and worrying time for me and my family”
“We have worked for the last eight months towards this and big thanks to all the coaches who got me in the best shape possible. I’m very happy”
The silver medal has certainly given him the belief that he can go for gold in C1 3k Pursuit tomorrow.
Time to meet the Superhumans if you haven’t already they including Cycling Shorts very own Jody Cundy MBE.
Channel 4 launched its biggest ever marketing campaign on Tuesday July 17 to promote coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games with a ‘roadblock’ premiere of its Meet the Superhumans film across 78 television channels.
The 90 second long film is set to the awesome track, “Harder Than You Think” by hip hop legends, Public Enemy, the film showcases the abilities of some of the leading UK Paralympians, represents some of the unique stories behind the elite athletes, and shows the herculean efforts that have gone into their preparation for the Games. It’s an extremely powerful short film.
Channel 4 is committed to bringing a new audience to the Paralympic Games and to raise awareness of Paralympic sport.
The campaign was commissioned by Channel 4 marketing, and conceived and directed by Tom Tagholm, for Channel 4’s in-house agency, 4creative.
Dan Brooke, Channel 4’s Chief Marketing & Communications Officer said: “London 2012 is a coming of age moment for the Paralympics. This campaign will help bring a whole new audience to it and may even raise a goosebump or two along the way.”
Produced by 4creative which is Channel 4’s in-house agency who this year have picked up a D&AD pencil (their 9th in 7 years) and a Cannes Gold and Bronze lion.
The shoot took place over 14 days in sports arenas across the country from the Sheffield Aquatics centre to Lee Valley Athletics Centre to the Olympic stadium, to the home of the Paralympics: Stoke Mandeville.
The full list of locations:
Paralympics Athletics Test Event at the Olympic Stadium
Herne Hill Velodrome Cycling Meet
Cardiff Swimming Pool
Stoke Mandeville (Wheelchair Basketball)
Lee Valley Athletics Centre
Crystal Palace National Sports Centre
Reading Hockey Club (Blind Football)
The first week in July saw all the GB Para-cycling team members who had been selected for the 2012 London Paralympics, travel to and stay at the St Pierre & Country Club in Chepstow for the week, while we trained at the National Velodrome in Newport. This hotel will be our venue for our holding camp before the transition up to London one week before the games.
The first week of my training on the track was a small shock to my system, having had only two weeks back on the track in Manchester after my training abroad and now with my legs finding their power again, the efforts on the track were going to be increased every day to maximise my improvements for London over the next two weeks.
On the Sunday 8th July, fellow Para-cyclist and Paralympic Gold medallist Jody Cundy MBE and I were invited to take part in a SKY ride for the public at the Velodrome in Newport as part of the celebrations of 50 days to go before the start of the 2012 London Paralympics. The day was organised to invite the public to take part in safe cycling with trained staff on the roads around Newport. Jody and I had a fab time and made lots of new cycling friends, who also enjoyed their cycling experiences around the coastline roads in the sun.
My second week of track training in Newport saw me and my legs finally start to see some progress. The first week was more like a baptism of fire for me trying to achieve some really fast times on the boards, as well as get used to training at maximum on every effort. The week session was broken up with a 3 hour road ride with two of the team members who really enjoyed the Welsh countryside, apart from the rain which was warm but very wet!
While I was on the camp in Newport, I had the pleasure of being interviewed over the telephone by Stuart Lieberman from the International Paralympic Committee. The IPC (www.paralympic.org) oversee all Paralympic sports across the globe, so it was my pleasure to share my epic life changing story with Stuart and to explain just how my life has changed since becoming a Para-cyclist and also a Paralympic hopeful. I had to explain who “Dewi the Dragon” was and how he was going to help me in London, as my Paralympic mascot.
On 13th July, my-self and the team went to the Crown Plaza Hotel in Central London to have our official suit fitting for the 2012 London Paralympic Games, supplied by retailer Next. It was a brilliant experience for me and everyone who attended, as this was the first time we all had the chance to mingle with our fellow ParalympicsGB athletes from all the other sports who are going to compete in London in August and September.
The journey back to Manchester that night was very slow and certainly a long one, having taken us 6 hours to drive back, as the traffic was bedlam. The next day I was keen to get back on my bike and felt really good on my 2 hour road ride on my TT bike, which was thankfully spent in the sunshine.
Monday 16th July saw the start of my 6 week double training sessions on the track, with me having to do a road ride in the morning, then a full on track session in the afternoon, plus, gym twice a week. I do honestly enjoy these sessions; it’s just a case of working hard and then sleeping through the tiredness before the benefits are seen a few weeks later.
Mid July, I was invited by 2012 London Paralympic partner Deloitte, to a private function to share my experience and my life changing story with some of their young clients in Manchester. Deloitte who is the professional services supporter for both of the London 2012 games and who is among the country’s leading professional services firms, providing audit, tax, consulting and corporate finance services. My talk went really well and I had the pleasure of holding a 2012 Olympic torch, it felt rather serial to actually be holding a real one, however, the evening was a great success and enjoyed by all. On times I still have to pinch myself to realise that I am actually doing what I am doing for my country and it was my pleasure to talk and network with such a fabulous group of professionals.
My last week of training in July saw my track sessions increased and also my time spent on the TT bike. This extra amount of training helps me to overload my body before I start my final few weeks of preparation, for the biggest challenge of my Para-cycling career at the 2012 London Paralympics.
The end of July saw my-self and fellow GB Para-cycling team member Jody Cundy MBE, attend a BBC radio interview called “world have your say” at the Manchester National Velodrome. The interview was live across the World and covered the global excitement that the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics had created. The interview went really well and especially after Bradley Wiggins had just won the Tour De France two days previous, so everyone was on a GB high.
As the biggest sporting event on the planet began at the end of July, the 2012 London Olympic fever hit the UK with style. We saw hundreds of millions of people across the globe watch the opening ceremony in awe and with only 4 weeks to go before the 2012 London Paralympics start, the whole of the UK will be behind every one of our ParalympicsGB athletes.
I am so excited to be a GB Para-cyclist competing at a home Paralympic Games, knowing that very soon I will not only be racing on the same track as Sir Chris Hoy, but with 6500 screaming fans in the stands. This is something that really does get me fired up to do well. I wish all Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes all the very best for the Games and make Britain proud by doing your absolute best!
With only 123 days to go until the London 2012 Paralympic Games, I decided to start writing a blog to keep you all in the loop of how things are going and I hope you will all enjoy reading my monthly updates.
2012 has already been quite a year for me having made my international track debut at the Track World Championships in Los Angeles in February. Looking back at it, I have to say it was a very tough and emotional time for me, with my dad falling seriously ill before I went out to LA, and then unfortunately passing away the day before I raced in the final of the 3km Pursuit. I was very close to my dad and I know he wanted me to go to LA and bring back “that Gold” for him, as he knew just how much hard work I had put in over the last 18 months and just how much I wanted to become “World Champion”.
Going into LA, I had two main goals that my coach and I had set out for us to achieve: to win both the Kilo and 3km pursuit. I knew a few weeks before we flew to LA that I was in good shape for the 3km pursuit but really didn’t know if my mind was going to perform as well as my body, with my family issues getting progressively worse every week!
However, my performance in the pursuit went accordingly to plan and I know my coach was very happy with how I coped and performed on the day of the Pursuit. I was expecting to go quickly in Qualifications but never expected to catch and pass Michael Teuber (GER), the world record holder as quickly as I did. I guess this was an unexpected experience for me, which I felt I dealt with very calmly and professionally with, and kept pushing hard to gain a quick time to qualify for the final.
After qualifying, I did actually have a few small issues while trying to get to the 3km Pursuit final, such as another nation protesting against my disability, which I felt might happen due to my very fast improvement over the winter. But once my classification was confirmed as a C1 rider by the UCI, I was able to go into the final with my head held high and focused 100% on my job at hand – becoming a “World Champion”. And in the final, I did just that catching and passing Juan Jose Mendez Fernandez (ESP) after just 6 laps out of 12 to claim my first World Championship Gold medal and rainbow jersey!
The second task was to win the Kilo, but unfortunately I missed out on the sprint discipline by just 0.278 seconds. And whilst I was disappointed not to win Gold, considering that my training programme going into LA was mainly pursuit based, I was happy with a 4 second personal best time and coming away with a Gold and Silver medal from my first Track World Championships!
My dream of becoming a “World Champion” in Para-Cycling started 2 years ago, when I first started to cycle again after my near fatal paragliding accident. Having raced in Triathlon for a few years albeit as a hobby, I knew just how fit and fast I could become on the bike, it was just a matter of time and lots of hard work. So to now be able to say that I have achieved one of my goals makes me very proud of how far I have come – in such a short space of time.
The experience of racing for GB in a Track World Championships was like nothing else I have ever experienced in cycling. The adrenaline buzz that you get when that gun goes on the start line and then it’s just you, the track and the clock to decide who takes the win!
Moving forward into London, I know that if I want to achieve all my goals then I have to mix-up my training almost like a decathlete. I have to increase my sprint workload to help me with the Kilo race, plus, continue to become faster and stronger at the Pursuit, as this will help me with my speed for the Road Time Trial race. I enjoy the challenge of the different disciplines and having gained experience of two major world competitions, I now know how my body copes with racing “back to back” on the track and the road. This means I can adapt my training to cope with the demands of performing in a short space of time to win those Gold medals. Being a Podium Funded athlete since winning Gold in LA, I now get the chance to access the best sporting facilities there are for my Para- Cycling career, which will be absolutely essential moving forward and certainly for the preparations for the 2012 London Paralympics.
Currently I am in an endurance phase of my training block, to where by I train heavily every week on the road and also spend time in the gym doing strength work. My training is going very well after a mixture of road and time trial sessions in Mallorca last month, so I am really excited to see exactly how far I have come in one year since I joined the GB Para-Cycling Team in June 2011, when I start back on the track next month. Training in a warm weather climate for me is essential for my preparations and health. As a spinal injured athlete, I can’t naturally regulate my body temperature, which means that my body and muscles almost shut down in the cold weather. This has been a major factor in my training plan with my coach, and we plan to utilise the warm weather camps in Spain and Italy for our preparations for London.
Before London though, I will be riding in both Para-Cycling World Cup races in Italy in May and then Spain in June. I then move back onto the track and time trial phase full time, for my run up to the 2012 London Games in August/September.
Beside training, I will be promoting and talking at various private functions about Pedal Power in Cardiff, a charity which helps to encourage people of all ages onto the bike and for which I am an official Patron. Cycling is not only a healthy way to exercise but also a way of helping to build people’s confidence and social skills at the same time.
I am also planning to do more motivational talks and appearances to pass on my experiences and hopefully inspire people to greater and better things. I regularly visit various organisations and businesses to give motivational talks, but I also visit schools to help the children see what can be achieved in life even after having a life changing experience. I felt that after my accident 3 years ago I could maybe influence other people in my spare time to overcome adversity in a similar way that I did, plus, maybe even help others to find a passion in life, so they would not give up when times get hard.
So I hope that all the people who read this blog will be able to see what is achievable when you put your mind and body into something 100%. I was told a long time ago, that if you want your life to change, then you have to change! So don’t sit back and let the world pass you by, as “Winners never quit and quitters never win”!
Thank you for reading my blog and watch this space for the next one!
The final day of the competition saw Jody racing in the Mixed Team Sprint alongside Darren Kenny and Sarah Storey. The GB team started into the competition as defending Champions and WR holders, however a rule change after last year’s World Championships – allowing fewer points per team – had forced the British coaches to reorganise their Team Sprint line-up. So today’s race was “a complete mystery” as Jody put it before the competition.
Tension was on after the Chinese posted a time of 51.152 but GB’s Darren Kenny got the team off to a great start. With Sarah loosing a little bit of time on lap two however, it was down to Jody to secure GB a ride in the final. And Jody did just that crossing the line in 51.114, only .038 ahead of China.
With both teams that close, it was obvious that the final for Gold would be a tough one for Darren, Sarah and Jody. And disaster stroke at the start of the first lap already, when Sarah slipped through the attachment on her handlebar, which she uses to compensate for the lack of grip caused by her disability. Sarah said “ I slipped out of it in the first banking which gave me an even bigger gap on Darren than this morning. The one thing that has never happened before, happened today, which is very annoying.”
Having issues with her handlebars, Sarah struggled to get onto Darren’s wheel and more importantly into his slipstream. Unsurprisingly then, GB was down after lap two and it was down to Jody again to try to make up the lost time. Unfortunately for him though, the damage was already done and the time gap too big to make up, so the GB team had to settle for Silver in a time of 51.175 behind the Chinese who rode a 50.564. The first time since 2007 that Great Britain has not won the Team Sprint title.
After the race, Jody said “We gave it all, but we lost to the better team today. Unfortunately, we had some issue with Sarah’s handlebar attachment, which had a deadly knock on effect. She lost Darren’s wheel so she didn’t get the benefit of his slipstream and as a result faded more towards the end of her lap. As a consequence, the delivery speed dropped so my lap wasn’t as fast as it could have been neither.”
Looking at the positives, Sarah commented, “We rode the same time (as in the qualifying) with a problem, and that problem cost us a lot of time. However, it would be worse to come away from this situation knowing there was nothing we could do, but we’ve got so many things that we can do now.”
One of these things will be to add more Team Sprint training into their programs, as Jody explained, “I think if we had practiced more, we could have been better. Maybe we have been a bit complacent with the Team Sprint because we’ve always won it comfortably, but we literally did our trial and no practice. Effectively, we had only done one training session in this line up, so it’s probably our own fault for not practicing.”
However, Jody and the rest of the team feel confident that they can win back the Team Sprint crown in London. Jody said: “We’ve got a lot of things technically, that we can pick up easy, free speed. The Team Sprint race has been a lot more competitive than we expected, but we’re not a million miles off from where we were last year and from where we need to be right now. I don’t think we’re out of this at all, I think we’re in a strong place for London.”
Although these World Championships have not been Jody’s most successful ones, he emphasized the fact that the London Paralympic Games are his main focus for 2012 “We have been working incredibly hard, but there is still a lot more work to do for London. I’ve defended my kilo title and picked up a silver and a bronze in the team sprint and pursuit, so I cant complain. What has been really amazing though is the support myself and the team have been getting from the fans back home! I’d like to say thank you to all of you, it really does mean a lot to me and I can’t wait to get to London and perform in front of a home crowd!”
Jody will now enjoy a brief holiday with his family in Los Angeles, before returning to the UK and starting his intensive preparations in the run up to the Paralympic Games.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.