London 2012 will be a Record Breaker

We're only in March and records have been falling a plenty which can only bode well for London 2012 14 Mar 2012
Eleanor Simmonds performing

Great Britain's Ellie Simmonds is expected to make a splash at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

For anyone in any doubt what breaking a world record means to an athlete, they should check out Ellie’s emotional interview afterwards where she sheds enough tears of joy to fill the Aquatics Centre pool twice over!

We’re close to 160 days to go until the London 2012 Paralympic Games and around the world thousands of athletes are training hard with their coaches to ensure they hit peak form somewhere between 29 August and 9 September – the time of the Games.

The fact that athletes probably shouldn’t be hitting peak form for another five months is amazing when consider the number of world records already broken this year in athletics, swimming and powerlifting and we’re only three months in!

Canada’s T52 racer Michelle Stilwell has been most impressive so far in 2012 setting new world records in the 100m, 200m and 400m, all distances she is the world champion at. Clearly her warm weather training down under in Australia has paid huge dividend and I know from her Facebook fan page ( that she was disappointed to leave the sunshine of Australia behind.

Speaking of Australia, Evan O’Hanlon, the 100m and 200m T38 world and Paralympic champion, has also been in the form of his life. In the last month alone he has lowered his own 200m record to 21.98 and set an unofficial 100m world record with a time of 10.88 seconds, all times O’Hanlon told the world about via his highly amusing twitter account -

Not to be outdone on the record front, O’Hanlon’s Aussie teammate Kelly Cartwright set a new 200m T42 world record in January running 35.98 seconds. Should she continue this form in the British capital this summer then she might be on for a hat-trick of gold medals in the 100m, 200 and Long Jump.

Great Britain’s teenage sensation Hannah Cockcroft has also been in a record breaking mood. In January she set a new 400m world record becoming the first T34 racer to break the magical one minute mark. I think she will lower her time of 59.99 even further in London and Cockcroft has the potential to be one of the homegrown stars of the Paralympics.

Credit must also be given to Tunisia’s Walid Ktila who set a world’s best time in the 100m T34 (15.69

Away from the track a number of records have also tumbled in the pool.

Last week I watched the British Swimming trials live on the internet from the London 2012 Aquatics Centre and was lucky enough to see double Paralympic champion Eleanor Simmonds swim 3:08.14 in the 200m Individual Medley. Once this time is ratified she will have taken more than half a second off her previous world record set last July at the IPC Swimming European Championships.

For anyone in any doubt what breaking a world record means to an athlete, they should check out Ellie’s emotional interview afterwards where she sheds enough tears of joy to fill the Aquatics Centre pool twice over!

Other record breaking swimmers in 2012 have included Australia’s Sean Russo (28.95) in the 50m Backstroke S13, USA Jessica Long (44.19) in the 50m Breaststroke SB7 and her compatriot Kayla Wheeler (1:47.98) in the 50 Butterfly S1.

Powerlifters have also not been shy in setting new world records with three falling at the recent Fazza International Championships in the United Arab Emirates. All are yet to be ratified however, but some involved athletes lifting close to three times their bodyweight, which is pretty astonishing.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I’m pretty confident we’ll see lots of amazing record breaking performances in London and I, for one, simply cannot wait!

In Beijing we had 279 world records and I would be very surprised if we do not top that number later this year.

Finally, speaking of amazing feats, it would be wrong of me not to mention that last week was a truly historic day with Xavier Gonzalez, my boss and CEO of the IPC, finally making the big step on to twitter!

He’s still finding his way a little bit on there but if you follow him at I’m confident you’ll get a fascinating insight into all the work that goes on at the IPC.

Xavier is very competitive and has already challenged us all to a followers race, a battle I am sure he will win (I have to say this - he pays me and is probably reading this!). However, on this occasion I am extremely confident that it’s unlikely Lada Gaga’s world record of 20 million twitter will come under threat from him.

Craig Spence

IPC Media and Communications Senior Manager

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