Wheelchair sprint star Rheed McCracken is not sure what tattoo he will have to mark his third Paralympic appearance yet. He just knows he’ll get one – or two or three or four.
The 24-year-old, who runs the 100m and 400m at the Games, has such a passion for body art that he lacks space to find new ones.
“After my first Paralympic Games in London I wasn’t old enough to have one so I had to wait a bit,” said McCracken.
“I got my London race number and the Rio Games and also a Christ the Redeemer tattoo.
“I have tattoos involving my family and a superman in memory of a companion Tyson.
“I also have Rio mascot Tom and London’s Big Ben. I still have room, but it’s a matter of bringing things in now.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do this time. I’m still waiting for the end of the matches.
One of Newcastle’s most recent tattoos is the imprint of his German Shepherd.
“I grew up around tattoos, mom and dad have tattoos and my uncle is a tattoo artist, so that was something I always wanted to do,” he said. “Finding the space is the hardest part. “
McCracken, who won silver in the 100m in Rio in 2016, worked with a sports psychologist before Tokyo in an effort to find a winning edge.
“I’ve been to games and world titles with too many expectations on myself. I’m thinking about it a bit, ”he said.
The Charlestown wheelchair racer will compete in his first event on August 30.
His last international race was at the 2019 Para Athletics World Championships when he won silver in the 100m.
“I haven’t raced in the country since the start of the year so it’s been a while,” said McCracken, born with cerebral palsy and in a wheelchair for over a decade.
The man to beat in the T34 category is the Tunisian Walid Ktila who has won all the finals of the Paralympic Games or the world championships since London in 2012.