Simon Richardson MBE lit the final paralympic cauldron outside City Hall in Cardiff on Monday. It was part of a series of flame celebrations that have happened around the UK in the lead up to the 2012 Paralympic Games.
“I was so proud to light the cauldron and get nominated to do it because there are so many more people more worthy than me,” Simon told BikeRadar. “I got specified by John Morgan and the team at Disability Sports Wales to do that. I’d just like to thank friends such a Magnus Backstedt and his family and my family and the many people who just turned up out of nowhere in the pouring rain for being part of the special day.”
The multi-Paralympic medalist’s own preparations for London 2012 were dashed when he was knocked off his bike and left for dead during an early morning training session just over a year ago by drunk and partially sighted farmer Edward Howell Adams, driving a van on the A48 near Bridgend.
Talking about the court case which comes to a conclusion with sentencing for Adams this Thursday, he said: “It will be nice to get full closure from the accident. Whatever happens, happens to him but the CPS has pushed hard so a precedent will hopefully be set so that drunk driving with adverse outcomes like this now automatically becomes dangerous driving. Hopefully my misfortune has helped the roads be slightly safer and to make procedure slightly easier for those involved in future incidents.”
“I would have loved to have been there in London to compete but now I’m setting my goals on Rio,” said a determined Richardson. “I have a really good team behind me and I’m looking forward to the (back) operation in mid-to-late September.” Whether he will be on a two wheeled bike or in a hand-cycle remains to be seen as the procedure he will undergo will likely reduce his ability to bend his spine.