England swimming goliath Adam Peaty has apologized for a “cocky” interview following his incredible Commonwealth Games meltdown on Monday.
Peaty’s defeat in the event he has owned for 10 years left Australian legend Ian Thorpe reeling. It was a result that almost no one saw coming.
The world record holder was unbeaten in the 100m breaststroke at major competitions since 2014. He had qualified for the final fastest and was leading the event with 25m to go. However, his England teammate James Wilby edged him out to win the gold medal.
DAY 5 LIVE: Browning next in 100m heat after ultra-tight stunner from teammate
The magnitude of the outburst was written on Wilby’s stunned face as he looked up at the big screen to see he had won. With Australians Zac Stubblety-Cook and Sam Williamson exploding to death, Peaty suddenly went from gold medal position to missing out on the podium altogether.
The result was explosive, with the 27-year-old saying he would not return to the Commonwealth Games in four years. This follows a social media backlash over comments described as “arrogant” by fans.
Peaty spoke to the BBC poolside after finishing outside the medals and said losing at the Commonwealth Games meant little to him after he had already won three Olympic gold medals.
“It’s not amazing, but it’s not bad either,” Peaty said.
LIVE MEDAL COUNT: Follow the Aussie charge to the top!
EVERY AUSSIE MEDAL: Read the Comm Games day-to-day recap
“It will probably be my last attempt tomorrow, but I don’t mind. The Commonwealths for me, in the grand scheme of things…it’s about two years (the Olympics).
“It’s not a lack of respect. I’m still four weeks into my program, I can’t expect that.
Retired English swimmer Mark Foster responded to Peaty’s comments, saying: “I think he’s trying to say it doesn’t matter, but it does.
“It’s the Commonwealth Games, it’s a multi-sport event and I think when he was growing up the Commonwealth Games would have been very important.
“But the fact that he’s won a lot of world championships and Olympics, maybe he’s trying to belittle himself that it doesn’t matter.”
The Birmingham Mail Fans reported on social media that Peaty’s comments were “arrogant” and “disrespectful”.
“Adam Pety is disrespectful to all other Commonwealth Games athletes, acting like he doesn’t care while all other athletes are trying their best to win medals,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another wrote: “Adam Peaty, I think you need to take a deep breath, say a word to yourself and check out the Para swimmers. I used to really respect you and what you were trying to accomplish, but you feel let down by the comments tonight.
World record holder Peaty qualified second for the 50m breaststroke final, scheduled for Wednesday morning, behind Australian Sam Williamson.
After reaching the final, Peaty appeared to apologize for his comments.
He wrote on Twitter: “Thank you for all the messages of support I’m getting right now. It’s been an incredibly tough time the last few months but especially the last few days.
“Sometimes in the heat of the moment my emotions get better and I can’t speak with a clear mind.
COMM GAMES DAY 4 NEWS
DAY FOUR RESUME: Australians claim NINE gold medals in medal blitz after Chalmers’ big statement
‘I CAN’T BELIEVE MY EYES’: Games madness as Aussie wins despite self-sabotage
‘I WON’T LAST TO PARIS’: Chalmers’ sad confession after winning gold
“These championships mean a lot to me as home games, but I have to think bigger to keep my spirits up. It’s really, really not easy. My last race at the Commonwealth Games will be tomorrow.
Peaty said he simply didn’t have time to get back to his best form following a long rehabilitation from multiple foot injuries. He said he didn’t have the aerobic capacity to challenge for the 100m breaststroke and even said he needed to lose 4kg before competing in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
He said he had a long way to go before Paris.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Peaty said.
“I don’t see the point of doing something that I wouldn’t do as well, yet. We will see.
“I don’t know what was wrong. With 25m to go, I had nothing in the tank. Maybe it’s overexposure on the foot. Sometimes you just have a bad run, I can’t identify where I went wrong. There is a lot of debriefing to do. I need a full reset now.
“It was a slow final, I can’t remember the last time I was this slow. It just didn’t go well. Of course I’m disappointed, but that’s what makes you go faster next time.
“I’ve kind of lost that spark, whether it’s with my foot, but I’ll be looking to find it over the next few months and over the next two years.”