Published: 24 August 2012
Report: Scott Hobro
Great Britain’s Jon-Allan Butterworth is ready to reach the zenith of a five-year journey when he goes in search of Paralympic gold in London.
The 26-year-old from Sutton Coldfield will compete in five events on the track and road having only joined the British Cycling Para-Cycling Talent Programme in April 2009.
The world champion and record holder in the kilo will be hoping to pick up a gold medal in the discipline and will also ride in the individual pursuit and mixed team sprint at the Olympic Velodrome in addition to the individual time trial and road race at Brands Hatch.
Butterworth, who had his left arm amputated after in a rocket attack on Basra Air Station in Iraq in 2007, believes his mind-set to the challenges he has faced have helped propel him to success in his cycling career so far and can do so over the next three weeks.
"It's about having a can-do attitude," Butterworth told Press Association Sport. “If you have a setback, you want to get over that setback and prove to people you can do it.
"Yes, I've lost an arm, but I have got another one and I am still alive. One door might close, which it did in terms of my military career, but then another one opened. I was in Basra. A rocket came in and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Shrapnel came from the rocket and lacerated my arm, which resulted in amputation later on.
"Before my injury, I had been very active and very fit, but after it I got fed up with the gym and I started eating what I wanted, with no exercise.
"Then I found sports through Battle Back, which gave me something to focus on, a direction in life. I got fit again and had new challenges."
It was through the Battle Back programme that Butterworth discovered a passion for cycling, and in turn impressed at a Paralympics GB talent ID day in Loughborough. Back-back world titles have followed in a squad which has continued to deliver after the 17 gold medals won in Beijing and has subsequently led to increased competition for spots.
"The competition within the British squad is so great, and there were obviously people who lost out in the selection process,” Butterworth said.
"Hopefully, there will be some good battles on the track and on the road. I am going for all of them - five events - and it's my first Games as well, so there is no pressure! The crowds are going to be so important in London. That moment when you might have a bit of self-doubt or you are in that much pain you want to stop, then the louder the crowd cheers, probably the faster you go.
"When you hear the crowd, it makes you feel different. In an individual competition when a home crowd is cheering for you, it's just great."
Para-cycling at the Paralympics begins on the 30 August with full coverage on the British Cycling website. For more details visit our Para-Cycling at London 2012 page.