The world champions - Guy eyes his own race of the century as Peaty stays chilled

The world champions - Guy eyes his own race of the century as Peaty stays chilled

02 August 2016 / 08:02
James Guy can vividly recall his first Olympic memory - aged just nine, he yelled at the television as his hero Ian Thorpe stormed to victory in what was labelled the ‘race of the century’.
jamesguyGettyImages-584703356Now, he’s ready to play his part in a race that is one of the most eagerly anticipated of Rio 2016.

Australian world record holder Ian Thorpe’s battle with defending champion Pieter van den Hoogenband and Michael Phelps in the 200m freestyle at the Athens Olympics is still remembered as one of the most dramatic swimming finishes of all time.

And this year’s renewal promises to be just as competitive.

Guy won over the distance at last year’s World Championships in Kazan, beating Olympic silver medallist Sun Yang of China by six hundredths of a second.

His time from the Olympic trials in Glasgow is the second quickest in the world this year -fractions behind Yang - but he’s aware that will count for nothing when he gets on the blocks this weekend.

“My events are incredibly competitive and they’ll be stacked with world-class talent,” said Guy, who begins his campaign in the 400m freestyle, in which he won a world silver last year, on Saturday.

“It’s weird to hear my name mentioned as a potential Olympic champion because I still see myself as the goon around the poolside, who loves his sport and likes to push himself hard in training.  

“But at last year’s Worlds I felt like I belonged to race with these guys and they’ve become good friends, it’s just an honour to compete against them and I can't wait to get started.  

"Everyone is swimming faster, last year was the best World Championships we have ever had and I think there is rightly more expectation than there was four years ago in London. I think we can deliver and we are in the right head-space.

“Obviously everyone wants to go there and win the Olympic gold but it’s harder than people think. I’m in the best shape of my life but let’s just see who is the toughest on the day.”

Guy is considered one of Team GB’s best early medal shots in Rio - with friend and fellow world champion Adam Peaty also starting his challenge in his signature 100m breaststroke on Saturday.

Both are looking to end a 28 year wait since Adrian Moorhouse won Britain's last men's Olympic swimming gold in Seoul.

“Adam and I are great friends. He’s an animal in the pool and we both like to push each other to bigger and better things - it would be great to get the team off to a good start,” adds Guy.
adampeatyGettyImages-584719512Meanwhile, world record holder Peaty insists he’s not feeling the pressure, despite arriving in Rio with expectations predictably high.

“I’m going in as number one but it’s not like someone's holding a gun at the end of the lane,” he said, after spending a week at Team GB’s preparation camp at Belo Horizonte. 

“I’ve got nothing to lose and I'm just going to give it a good go. I am going into my first Olympics but people I'm racing are going into their third and fourth and probably last Olympics - they’re the ones under pressure.”

By James Toney, Sportsbeat

Sportsbeat 2016

Support Team GB this summer in your very own Rio 2016 kit. Visit our online shop here