Paralympic cycling champion unveils his new leg for 2012 London Games

PUBLISHED: 09:44 27 August 2012 | UPDATED: 18:23 27 August 2012

Paralympic champion Jody Cundy with his 2012 race leg [Picture: Christina P. Kelkel]

Paralympic champion Jody Cundy with his 2012 race leg [Picture: Christina P. Kelkel]

C-Photo-K/Christina Kelkel

THE 2012 Paralympics open in London this week and cycling champion Jody Cundy has gone the extra mile to stand out from the crowd.

While sports fans showed their support for Team GB at the Olympics by having their faces painted, the former University of Hertfordshire student has had his new prosthetic leg decorated for the occasion.

The five times Paralympic champion, who competed in the pool for Hatfield Swimming Club before getting on his bike, showed off his unique and eye-catching red, white and blue ‘leg for London’ at a special preview ceremony in Manchester.

It features a patriotic and iconic design, the names of the people who have helped him win gold medals at the Paralympics and World Championships and a medal tally on the back.

Jody, who was born with a deformed foot which was amputated when he was just three years old, unveiled his colourful new leg at the Manchester Velodrome, where he is now based.

He said: “I am really happy the way it has turned out, I think it looks pretty cool.”

A former fitness instructor at the Furzefield Centre in Potters Bar, the swimmer-turned-cyclist has been working on the design with top designer Gary Forshaw, who works with Össur, the Icelandic company which produced the prosthetic leg, as well as those for South African ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius, who is also competing in the Paralympics having just run in the 2012 London Olympics.

Jody, 33, said: “Prior to 2011, I had feedback from some potential sponsors that although it was obvious I had a prosthetic leg when I was off the bike, once I was on it the black carbon of the leg and the black carbon of the bike blended into each other and I appeared able-bodied!

“So for the 2011 World Championships in Italy I set about giving my leg a makeover.

“Initially I painted it bright white and incorporated the world stripes around the centre to signify I was world champion.

“The leg was a big hit but the governing body didn’t approve of the design as I was racing in a few events in which I wasn’t world champion.

“So, for the following year I covered the leg in a chrome vinyl wrap and that attracted a lot of attention, with people calling it the Terminator leg!

“For London, I’ve had a new leg made and I wanted it to really stand out in front of the home crowds.”

He added: “I love customising my leg. With so many restrictions on kit and other pieces of equipment, it’s nice to have a bit of creative freedom and stand out from the crowd.”

London will be the athlete’s fifth Paralympics – his first was as a swimmer in Atlanta back in 1996 – and second Games as a cyclist.

He will compete in the C4-5 class 1km time trial on Friday, August 31 in the London Velodrome and the C4 4km individual pursuit the following day.

However, he just failed to make the C1-5 mixed team sprint squad following a race off.

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