Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Sunday, 7 September 2008 17:31 UK

Family pride at Paralympic gold

Simon Richardson
Simon Richardson in action as he goes for gold in the Paralympics

The family of Paralympic gold medallist cyclist Simon Richardson have spoken of their pride at his achievements on the track over in Beijing.

The 41-year-old from Porthcawl won the LC3/4 1km time trial in world record time to pick up Britain's first gold at the Games in the city's velodrome.

His wife Amanda said he had done "fantastically" while his parents, John and Diana, described him as "the best".

Richardson was seriously injured after a cycling accident seven years ago.

The father-of-two was in collision with a car in 2001 while cycling with friends from a cycling club.

They're saying 'What's going on is somebody breaking into the house?' and then I said, "No your father's just broken the world record and it looks like he's on for gold
Wife Amanda Richardson, at home in Porthcawl

His family believe his life was saved by the fact he was wearing a cycling helmet but he was left with serious back and leg injuries and a lack of feeling down one side.

However, within four years he got back on his bike, despite having to power his adapted bike with only his right leg.

Wife Amanda got up early on Sunday morning to watch her husband compete via the Paralympics website in this his first games.

By the time he had crossed the finish line in a new world best 1:14.936 had woken up their two teenage sons.

"I sat there and watched it and got awfully excited," she explained.

Family watch replay of race
The family watch - wife Amanda, grandmother Glenys and parents John and Diana

"I've seen him race many times before and it's the first lap I don't worry about it - it's the next three that are more important.

"As he's doing each lap - I'm thinking he's getting faster, he's getting faster and I'm getting louder and louder and louder.

"Suddenly I'm waking my kids up and they're saying 'What's going on is somebody breaking into the house?' and then I said, "No your father's just broken the world record and it looks like he's on for gold.

"Then we had to wait for the other athletes then to finish to find out whether he got gold or not.

"I think it'll take a while for it to sink in that he's actually done it because after all it's only three years he's been back on the bike after his accident and he's just done fantastically.

"This time seven years ago we couldn't even have imagined this."

Father John joined in to heap praise on his son and added: "I'm absolutely over the moon.

"He's worked so hard for this and to actually achieve it after the accident and all the things he's gone through, it's wonderful."

His mother Diana Richardson added: "I can't believe it - I've got no words to describe how I feel.

"We thought we'd lost him seven years ago. He's the best."

His 91-year-old grandmother Glenys Arthur may have provided a little inspiration.

"I was born on my bike practically," she explained. "I didn't give up cycling until my late 70s and used to use it to go and for to work.

"But I don't think I was in love with my bike like he is in love with his bike!

"I think he's wonderful because that terrible accident was awful. I'm very proud of him."


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