“It’s a false ideology, really,” Adam Peaty says coolly, his three world championship gold medals clinking around his neck, as he considers one of the most cliched and overheated words in sport: pressure. Peaty, who has just returned from Russia, where he was the dominant male swimmer while winning the 50m and 100m breaststroke world titles and then helping power GB to gold in the mixed medley, appears not to understand the concept of pressure.
“People make the mistake of thinking they’ve got to perform just because someone has said something about their potential,” the 20 year-old says. “They might feel there is pressure for them, financially, to be successful. But I feel no pressure. I enjoy racing because I want to do it. No one’s forcing me. What’s the worst that could happen? You’re going to come second or lose? It’s not like someone has got a gun to your head.”
Peaty smiles nonchalantly. “Just because someone says I could become Olympic champion next year doesn’t mean I’m going to get ahead of myself. I am only this successful because I’m so good at grounding myself. Once I’m back in the training regime it’s brutal and I am going to get better every day – so that no one can get near me.”
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