Paralympic gold medallist Scott Reardon will get some tips from Usain Bolt before he has a crack at history this July.
The reigning world and paralympic men’s T42 100m champion is gunning for an unprecedented third consecutive world championship title in London.
Reardon, 26, enjoyed a month off after his record Rio Games gold medal dash (12.26) and is preparing for a return to London’s Olympic Stadium where he won silver in 2012.
“Everything is being geared towards running fast at the world champs and going back to London will be awesome, they’ll get 50,000 in there for sure,” Reardon said.
“I’ve had a goal to run under 12 seconds [world record 12.11] for a long time and I feel I’m getting closer, whether it happens at world champs or in the next few years, it’s definitely on the radar.”
The two-time Paralympian kicks off his season next month at the inaugural Nitro Athletics Melbourne alongside Olympic legend Bolt.
“It’s not everyday you get to meet the fastest man in the world, so it’s pretty exciting to be in the same competition as him,” Reardon said.
“I’m looking forward to chatting with him and spending a decent amount of time with him throughout the week.”
Nitro is a new initiative aimed at bringing crowds back to track and field competition and an event Reardon described as athletics’ version of Twenty20 cricket.
“I know for javelin they have targets and each event is a little bit different which is cool because it takes the pressure off us to perform, we can just go out and show the world how beautiful athletics is,” he said
“It’s a very new concept for everyone involved which is exciting and it’s nice to see the sport going to the next phase in terms of trying to make it more viewer-friendly.”
Reardon won’t race alongside Bolt but instead with a field of para athletes who will compete in a handicap race similar to the Stawell Gift.
“With all the different disabilities we all run different speeds, Liam Malone from New Zealand runs a 10.8 in the T44 which means I’ll be running from about 85m,” Reardon said.
“It’s a cool way to do it and we should all cross the line at the same time which should make it really exciting for the crowd.”
The Canberra resident has enjoyed plenty of pats on the back since returning from Brazil with his gold medal in tow and is excited for the future of the sport.
“There has been a noticeable difference between London and Rio, not just me but Paralympians in general,” Reardon said.
“I get recognised on the street now and people seem to know who I am because they watched me compete which is awesome because it shows how far the Paralympics has come.
“From being hidden in the background a bit on the ABC to getting 80,000 people in London and being on commercial television.
“Now we’re being seen as professional athletes which is really exciting and it’s only going to be get bigger and better in Tokyo with new broadcast deals.”
Nitro kicks off at Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium next month on Saturday, February 4, then continues on Thursday the 9th and Saturday the 11th.