The parents of Olympic gold medalist Adam Peaty nearly didn’t make it to Rio to watch their son compete, but their dreams were fulfilled thanks to a kitchen appliance.
Disabled caretaker Mark Peaty, 56, and nursery manager wife Caroline, 50, live in a three-bed semi-detached house in Uttoxeter, near Derby, with their son Adam, 21. Last month their Whirlpool washing machine required a repair and the couple called appliance care provider Domestic & General to get it fixed.
Typical small talk with the repair engineer turned to their children’s shared love of swimming, with Mark and Caroline sharing their angst over whether or not they’d be able to travel to support their son in the biggest competition of his life.
Adam’s father, Mark Peaty said: “The engineer was a friendly chap and during conversation mentioned his daughter swam. Of course, being a proud dad, I told him about Adam and his journey. We mentioned we were hoping to go to Rio to support Adam, if he qualified, but had been trying to get hold of tickets since December and costs were through the roof.
“To be honest, the whole process of acquiring tickets and finding accommodation was far from easy. Firstly, you can’t take for granted your child will make the team, but booking and acquiring tickets needed to be done a long time before the trials. Of course, the price of tickets went up considerably but Caroline was heartbroken when she wasn’t able to see Adam make the Great Britain squad due to work and financial reasons, so there was added pressure on us making the Rio trip.”
The Whirlpool service engineer relayed the information to his employer, resulting in the manufacturer and Domestic & General joining forces to cover the costs of the Peaty’s tickets and accommodation.
On day two of the Games, Peaty smashed his own world record to win the 100m breaststroke in 57.13 seconds and ended Great Britain’s 28 year wait for a men’s Olympic swimming title.
Caroline said: “I’m so very proud of our son. We knew what he was capable of, but the world records – in addition to the gold medal – are something else. We’re thrilled the hard work has paid off and he’s fulfilled his lifelong dream. Watching him compete, I think I was more nervous than him but it was incredible to be there and soak up the atmosphere. Hopefully this is the first of many gold medals for Great Britain.”
Adam started to show an interest in competitive swimming whilst he was in primary school. He took part in a local school gala and was selected to trial for Dove Valley Swimming Club. This was where his interest in competitive swimming began.
Caroline added: “Family support, at swim meets, is so important to be there with Adam to share the joys and also the disappointments. I travelled to Glasgow to watch Adam in his first Commonwealth Games competition but wasn’t able to stay to watch the remainder of his swims. Having to leave was heartbreaking, so being here in Rio and actually being able to stay for the duration, means so much.”
Caroline travelled the country with Adam as he worked through Open Meets, County, Midland, National and British Championships. She added: “It’s been very difficult at times juggling family, finances and supporting Adam to fulfill his dream of becoming a world-class swimmer, but we’re both extremely proud of him and all of his achievements. We also know how important it is to Adam to have his mum and dad there, knowing the two people who’ve been on the journey from the beginning with him will be there to watch him race. It’s funny to think the years of washing towels, kit and clothes have made it possible!”
A spokesperson for Domestic & General said: “When we heard about the Peaty’s struggles getting to Rio, we were keen to help. We pride ourselves on taking the worry out of breakdowns but in this case, as well as resolving the appliance issue, we were able to go one step further. This couple has worked hard to support their son and have nurtured a champion. We’re delighted to have helped them make it to Rio to see their son win gold for Great Britain.”