Paralympic Swimmer Mikey Jones Receives MBE in New Years Honours List
Mikey Jones was today listed for an MBE in the New Year Honours List after a golden summer at the Paralympic Games in the pool. Sports Gazette spoke exclusively to Mikey on his achievement and much more.
“It still feels very surreal at times. I’m getting a bit more used to it now but it was an amazing experience out in Rio.”
This is what you would expect anyone who has won their first Olympic gold medal to say. Yet most of us don’t get to hear it from the horse’s mouth.
Mikey Jones won the S7 400-metre freestyle final at the Rio Paralympics in a personal best of 4 minutes 45.78 seconds, over 12 seconds faster than his heat.
This was Mikey’s first Paralympic medal and the colour was gold but the road was not always gold-coated for him.
I have been friends with Mikey since our childhood. I’ve seen him suffer a great deal whilst training to become a world champion swimmer.
Mikey could have trialled for 2012 but events took a sharp turn when he needed three operations in one year.
A plate was removed from his side which was put in place when he was 10 years old, his Achilles tendon was lengthened and two of his toes were fused.
Speaking to him at his civic ceremony in home-town New Milton, Mikey said: “In some ways, I feel like I had missed out on London 2012 but I had come to terms with it before the competition actually started that I wasn’t going to make it, knowing that I needed surgery.”
Rather than seeing this as a set-back, this further fuelled Mikey’s determination. But there was a further obstacle when his mother, Shirley, was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015.
Shirley and her husband Bernard have supported Mikey from the start, always from the galleries. Whilst Shirley was undergoing chemotherapy, which she recovered from in the summer of 2015, they may not have been able to get to the galleries but the support was still there.
Mikey said: “Being at Loughborough at that point, I was trying to balance a university course with swimming and making sure I was there to support her with everything she was going through.”
Another tough situation for Mikey and his family but this only added to his determination to make it to Rio.
See the rest of Mikey's story in the video below!