David Weir returns to Wallington a legend after collecting four gold medals
12:20pm Thursday 13th September 2012 in Exclusive By James Pepper, Reporter
David Weir was given a hero's reception as he returned home this week after his incredible four gold medal haul at the Paralympics.
The greatest wheelchair racer of all time, who has been tipped for a knighthood, was thrown a surprise party at his local pub in Wallington, on Tuesday after he was told he was meeting his mother Jackie for a quiet meal.
After being mobbed by his closest friends he said he had no plans to move away from them, despite his newfound superstar status.
The soon to be father-of-three who trains in both Kingsmeadow and Richmond Park said: "The Roundshaw Estate was the best place in the world to grow up, it has made me the man I am today."
The Sutton Guardian was given exclusive access to his welcome home party at the Windmill, in Stafford Road, where he paid tribute to the residents of the Roundshaw Estate.
He said: "It [the estate] did have a bad reputation, but the people are amazing. It's my home."
Weir, already an MBE, is 25-1 to become sports personality of the year after storming to gold in the 5,000m, the 1500, the 800m and the marathon in the London 2012 games.
He said: "After I took the 5,000 gold I was confident I could take the rest. I knew on the final laps I had the speed to do it. I was bouncing off the walls before the race though, I had to try and keep cool, and Jenny, my coach really helped me with that."
Coach Jenny Archer said: "David is amazing. He is so grounded and he has a fantastic family around him. When I started coaching him 10 years ago I asked him what he wanted, and he said "to be the best", and now he is. It's just a shame it has taken so long to get the recognition."
Weir took a hiatus after disappointing himself at the1996 Atlanta games, but returned to athletics after seeing Tanni Grey Thompson take gold in Sydney 2000.
Weir's 80 friends who went to cheer him on at the marathon on Sunday were expecting to see the by now familiar salute when he crossed the finish, but they never saw it.
David said: "The reason I didn't celebrate was because I didn't know where the finish line was. There was no tape, due to some health and safety madness."
Weirs brother Tony, a plasterer, said he was immensely proud of his younger sibling.
He said: "David is the most courageous person I know. When we were kids he wanted to do everything we did, and he would. He used to climb monkey bars and all sorts, teachers would say to Mum they were worried, but Mum would tell them he was fine. He always had a very do it yourself attitude. When we used to go out we used to carry him onto buses, he never let anything stop him."
Tony Roberts, a close friend of the family who has known David all his life said he was a "diamond".
He said: "He is incredible, truly. I have never seen determination like it. I think growing up with three brothers toughened him up. I mean, if he stepped out of line, he would get a clip, and he would give them out too."
I remember his first wheelchair, it was a pile of rubbish, but he would go up to Tooting Bec and train all the time. The man is a legend, and just to top it off, he is such a nice bloke."
David said athletes in the Olympic games had inspired him to greatness.
He said: "I watched Bradley (Wiggins) do the Tour De France and then the Olympics and he was incredible, and Chris Hoy, Ben Ainslie. I just wanted to do as well as them in front of my home crowd. It was great to get praise from such incredible athletes afterwards."
Weir has one new super fan. He said: "Jessica Ennis mum said I was her second favourite athlete, which meant a lot, behind Jessica obviously."
It is believed Sutton Council are in discussions with the Weirs and the Family of Joanna Rowsell, Cheam's cycling gold medallist, as to how to commemorate the momentous occasions.