This week’s Superhero Sunday is brought to us by Great Britain’s Paralympic star David Weir.
The Briton became a household name at the London 2012 Paralympic Games , winning gold medals in the 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m and marathon (T54) - although he had already hit the headlines in previous years, winning the London marathon in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, and in 2012 just a few months before the Games.
A triple gold medallist at the World Championships in 2006 and 2011, Weir has his sights set on further golden glory at this year’s IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Here he reveals who has inspired him on the way.
1. Winston Churchill (Former British Prime Minister 1940-45 and 1951-55)
I’m very patriotic for my country, and what he did for us during the war. I’d like to ask him how he coped with it, the pressures and how it was, because we can only see pictures and watch films. I’d love to know how he coped with it.
2. Muhammad Ali (American former world heavyweight champion boxer and Olympic gold medallist 1960)
Sports greatest ever. I would like to ask him if the cockiness was his fear, was it a front because he was actually nervous.
3. An impossible choice! Heinz Frei (Swiss para-athlete, London marathon winner and multiple Paralympic gold medallist; Chris Hallam (former British Paralympic swimmer and wheelchair racer and pioneer in disability sport), Lord Coe (British former Olympic champion, chairman of London 2012)
It’s a hard one – before 2012 it would have been someone like Heinz Frei, or Chris Hallam – people I watched when I was a kid growing up. Chris had a big influence on me when I was young. After his funeral I sat there and thought ‘you were my hero’ – and I didn’t realise that until he passed away. I got to know him very well and he had so much time for me as a kid, helping and advising me.
Heinz because of what he did in 1992 (winning three Paralympic golds) - I watched it and thought I want to be like that, braking world records and winning gold medals. He is a living legend in my eyes.
But what Seb Coe did for the country, putting Paralympics on a level par with the Olympians, and making that stadium full, I couldn’t thank him more.
Weir will be one of 1,400 athletes from 100 countries competing at the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, between 22-31 October.