By Scott Mills
Five years ago, people from all over the world flocked to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic stadium to watch some of the the best athletes from around the globe compete in the 2012 Paralympic Games.
A Games that will be remembered for many moments of excellence and in particular, David Weir’s three Paralympic gold medals on the track.
One of the stand out moments for many, was the ‘Weirwolf’ crossing the finishing line with his shirt broken and flying everywhere, much like his arms in celebration as he won his third gold of the Games before adding a fourth in the marathon.
Fast-forward to a few years later and it was fitting that Weir, now a CBE, would be ending his decorated track career in the same stadium but this time surrounded by a legacy that he and his coach Jenny Archer had built.
During the 2017 Muller Anniversary Games at the Olympic stadium, Weir and Archer were finally about to be given the send off they deserved in a place where they made so much history.
With Weir being able to race alongside members of his academy, it was almost as if he was passing the baton onto the future generation- young athletes such as Graham Spencer, Dillon Labrooy and Sheikh Mudelin alongside more of the established members like Mickey Bushell MBE, Jabari Knight, Mo Jomni and JohnBoy Smith.
Those who had been with Weir throughout his career, supporting him through all of the highs and lows looked on from the crowd whilst the remaining academy members were also in attendance on this emotional day.
Although the noise from the crowd wasn’t as deafening as that of the Paralympics in 2012, the supporters from Weir’s hometown still made sure they showed their appreciation as both himself and the team flew around the track in an 800m race.
Whilst most were in complete admiration for a man who had done so much for British sport, the same amount were also surprised to see Mickey Bushell leading the way in an 800m race alongside the rising talent Graham Spencer.
But whilst the rest closely followed suit and with Bushell once again doing his best and iconic ‘puffer fish’ impression, Weir cruised by with ease to take a victory in his last-ever track outing.
As the athletes formed a lap of honour, many of Weir and Archer’s amazing and historical achievements flashed before many in the emotion of the occasion.
With a total of five golds, two silver and one bronze medal from the Paralympics, six IPC World Championship golds and two silver medals. four gold, one silver and one bronze IPC European Championship medals, a Commonwealth gold and a countless number of World Records on track, Weir and Archer really have cemented themselves as ‘legends’ of British sport.
But as the pair proved by winning a record seventh London Marathon title this year, there is more to come from them both.
It is at this moment that the academy would also like to wish Mickey Bushell, Jabari Knight, Joao Correia and Abbie Hunnisett all the best at the 2017 World Championships in London.