Adam Peaty On The Gladiator Mindset, Muhammad Ali And International Men’s Day

Jul 26, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Adam Peaty (GBR) celebrates after winning the men's 100m breaststroke final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Peaty: Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

Adam Peaty On The Gladiator Mindset, Muhammad Ali And International Men’s Day

It seems fitting that Adam Peaty should be talking about inspiring others through the ‘Gladiator Mindset’ ahead of International Men’s Day.

Peaty became the first British swimmer to defend – or in his words attack – an Olympic title when he won the 100 breaststroke at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, five years after gold at Rio 2016.

There was also gold in the mixed medley relay in world-record time and silver in the men’s medley with the 27-year-old the owner of five Olympic medals over two Games.

Following Tokyo, the eight-time world champion announced he was going to take some time away from the pool to prioritise his mental health.

He appeared on BBC TV show ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ before being voted out a little under a fortnight ago after reaching week seven with dance partner Katya Jones.

That was followed by his return to full-time training and on 11 November by the publication of his book ‘The Gladiator Mindset’ – a 10-step guide that enables the reader “to push your limits and achieve the impossible”.

Peaty has talked many times about his desire to leave a legacy and the book seeks to inspire and encourage others to reach their potential.

Peaty told Swimming World:

“I get a huge kick out of inspiring people – that is one reason I do it and one reason I like to get up on the lane rope and shout!

“The book is a great way to access that kind of person that doesn’t really follow sport or your personal journey but can really tap into it.

“For the reader it’s how do I get inspired and take as much away from this as possible and understand a little bit about me (Peaty) because really you only see the 56 seconds that I perform.

“What happens to the seven years, the 10 years that has made me the athlete I am today?”

The 16-time European champion believes anyone can break through those barriers and believe in themselves to subsequently reach heights they never considered possible.

He said:

“I think people can push themselves so much further than they think and we only set our own tolerance (levels) by our own environment and what we’ve experienced.

“So with someone running 10 k or 5k – even to me it’s hard because I don’t do it that often.

“But if you don’t push your mind to the nth degree most days, which I do when I’m in full training, of course you are not going to know how to do that.

“But it’s also training your mind, training your mind to perform and no matter what job you do and what you do in life, everyone can train the mind to perform and know where to put their energy.

“Being a happy, inspiring but kind person is so rewarding as well: you don’t have to be this all-consuming gladiator, you can have this balance.

“I hope I am becoming this person but again it’s a learning thing: I don’t think you ever reach your destination, you just continually go on the journey.”

Role Models & Muhammad Ali On International Men’s Day

Friday 19 January 2021 is International Men’s Day which serves as a springboard to highlight positive role models and raise awareness of men’s wellbeing.

Adam Peaty became a father to son George in September 2020 with partner Eiri Munro and is acutely aware of his place as a role model at home as he too looked as child to his father, Mark.

He said:

“I don’t think I really had that many I was younger. Everyone has different jobs, different roles in society and different roles in the family.

“You’d always say your dad – someone who works hard, provides. Someone who can have a lot of humour and not take themselves too seriously I guess.

“For me it is all about inspiring people: that’s my perception of a positive male role model.

“I look to people who are successful, people who have worked hard like my dad and just have positivity.”

As to sporting heroes, Peaty cites a man whose influence and principles have extended far beyond the sporting world, saying:

“It was always Muhammad Ali for me just because of the way he was and the way he carried himself with charisma.

“The way he changed the sport.”