MF interviews Deaflympics cyclist Tom Smith

(Image credit: unknown)

How does being deaf affect your races?

I see being deaf as an advantage – my peripheral vision is better than those with good hearing. Also, if I need information from my team on the side of the track or road, they can sign it to me. Normally those kind of instructions will get shouted at riders and half the time they won’t be heard.

Is there any reason a deaf athlete can’t compete at the  Olympics?

There have been instances at recent Olympic Games where deaf people have participated, so the only thing that can stop us from being selected is discrimination.

How much time do you spend on the bike every week?

During race season I do an average of 20-25 hours. But during the winter months training pretty much doubles.

What training session do you find the toughest?

The phases where we focus on power – those can go on for weeks and are torturous. Recently I had a city centre race right at the end of a power phase and I felt really drained during the event. But the phase proved its worth because I managed to ride my way to a fourth place finish.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want to show everyone that even if you have a disability you can still achieve anything you want so long as you put your mind to it and want it enough.