RAF Veteran 'Hopes To Inspire' With Paralympics Gold
Paralympic cyclist Jon-Allan Butterworth says he hopes to inspire people to "follow their dreams" after becoming the first British serviceman or woman injured in Iraq or Afghanistan to win Paralympic gold.
The 30-year-old, from Sutton Coldfield, triumphed in the C1-5 mixed team sprint at the Rio Paralympics on Sunday alongside Jody Cundy and Louis Rolfe.
Butterworth, a former RAF weapons technician who lost his left arm in 2007 following a rocket attack in Basra, Iraq, had previously claimed three silver medals at London 2012.
After taking the top prize for the first time at a Paralympics, he said it was an "amazing" feeling:
"Paralympic sport is so elitist and hard to win in, it can seem out of reach. This shows that it is not out of reach. If you train hard and have belief in your ability you can come away with a medal. It shows people, and hopefully will inspire others to follow their dreams."
Butterworth told Forces TV last week that he would 'only be happy with gold', after winning three silvers at the Paralympics in London in 2012, where one of his silvers came in a time trial that saw him pipped to gold by fractions of a second.
He added that the huge support at the Rio velodrome played its part, adding: "At the world championships we might get 500 people, plus friends and family. At the Paralympics we have a 5,000 crowd, the sound is amazing. It's crazy how loud it gets in there, it either helps or hinders you and it helped me and drove me on."
The ex-serviceman was supported to Paralympics victory by a partnership between military charity Help for Heroes, British Cycling, the British Paralympic Association and UK Sport.
Jayne Kavanagh, performance pathway manager at Help for Heroes, said: "To come back from London 2012 with a performance like that was incredible and just shows what hard work and dedication can achieve.
"We're incredibly proud to work in partnership with the British Paralympic Association and hope Jon-Allan has inspired other wounded, injured and sick military and veterans that anything is possible post-injury."