SPORT has a habit of conjuring up wonderful stories.

And for Jonathan Broom-Edwards MBE, that has certainly been the case.

Winning gold for Team GB at last summer’s Tokyo Paralympics was a glorious moment for the Colchester-born high jumper, the culmination of years of endeavour and graft and recovering from adversity.

“It’s been a fairytale storyline with an amazing ending to it,” he said.

Jonathan, who was born with clubfoot in his left foot, has always been a talented sportsman.

Having played basketball, the 33-year-old first tried athletics as a way of improving his jump shots and had never initially considered the possibility of competing at the Paralympics.

It was only while watching the High Jump competition at the London 2012 event that he realised that his impairment made him eligible for Paralympic competition.

“I’d never considered myself as a disabled athlete; I’d just pushed myself through it,” said Jonathan, who started out at Loughborough Athletics Club.

“It was after 2012 that I was going through the classification scheme for para-sport, when they eventually decide what category you’re in and whether you can compete.

“I was surrounded by athletes with much more severe impairments and disabilities than I had and all of a sudden, whereas I’d probably gone through my life hiding my condition, I’ve then got it on full display.

“That was quite a weird transition and I had to learn it to become an athlete.


“I wasn’t an athlete and I didn’t come up through the grassroots; I had to learn quick what it meant to be an athlete and what sort of dedication was required.

“It’s got better year and year and my drive and determination has improved, as I’ve gone on.

“It’s something I’ve had to learn in sport and it really did save my life; it took me out of some bad situations and away from people that weren’t actually that supportive.

“It changed my life for the better.

“It’s taken a lot of soul searching but I’m thankful for the hard times that it’s given me because in those hard times, I’ve been able to develop resilience.”


Delight - Jonathan Broom-Edwards celebrates after winning gold, in Tokyo Picture: imagecomms

Jonathan’s route to the top has not been plain-sailing, though.

In April 2018, he ruptured the Achilles tendon in his left leg.

It left him sidelined for 18 months.

He said: “It’s the bits in the journey that can really resonate with people going through any walk of life or any struggle.

“It’s been a whole journey of learning about my body and also my mind, in order to get it right at the right time.

“If I think back to that moment where I ruptured my Achilles, it was a case of thinking ‘let’s deal with this now’ and who knows what we can achieve.

“It took me the best part of a year to come back from the Achilles rupture, to get back jumping.

“Then I developed a chronic knee issue and was carrying that for another year.

“So the first lockdown actually helped me to figure out my body, in the respect of stretching and activating more and I managed to come out of lockdown without a knee issue.

“It’s been an upward trajectory since then.”

That trajectory has taken him to the very top and to Tokyo last summer, where the Olympic and Paralympic Games had been delayed for a year due to the global pandemic.

It meant things were very different for the athletes competing at the event, with strict protocols to adhere to.

“As an athlete, you’re well-rehearsed in downtime,” he said.

“You go to a competition and you’re basically in your hotel for a period of time, before the competition so we had that to deal with.

“But it was really strict; we were testing every day, we were having to keep socially distanced, when we were eating at dinnertime we had plastic screens up – even though we were in a bubble, we still had to conform to these protocols.

“Then to turn up to the village and still have these protocols to deal with, you’re almost living on edge because all it would take would be one positive test to potentially ruin your chances – you might not be able to compete after years of preparation.

“On top of that, I turned up after prepping for over a month in heat and in 38 degrees humid conditions and nice sunshine to then have it absolutely tipping it down and freezing cold, on my competition day!

“I feel proud of how I handled myself in order to keep a cool head, even under those conditions and perform probably one of my all-time best jumps.”

Jonathan rose to the occasion, winning gold in the T64 with a leap of 2.10m.

“There was quite a narrative to the competition,” said Jonathan, who lived in Colchester for two years before moving

“Going from being in pole position in the competition to in one jump, a competitive almost coming out of nowhere and being in gold position and being on a third attempt at a lower bar.

“With high jump, you have three attempts and you’re out and I’ve got that pressure of ‘if I don’t clear that bar, I’m in third’.

“I’ve come all this way and obviously I feel like I’m getting ready for gold and I could go back home and be in third position.

“So to clear that height was a relief moment but once we got to the height bar with two of us remaining, I knew at that point that it was the next bar that was going to win me it.

“I could just sense it and I just said to my coach who was looking after me out in Tokyo said ‘it’s this bar’ and it was on the second attempt I achieved it.

“I just lost it and went absolutely crazy and because I was still in the competition, I had to really try and force myself to try and calm down.

“My competitor failed his second attempt and then when he failed his third attempt, I knew it.

“It was a case of a hands behind my heads moment and ‘I’ve done it’.

“After five years going towards this, I’d finally done it.

“After settling for silvers over the last ten years, I finally achieved it and it’s just a moment I’ll never forget.


“It’s been really great for my coach and I, because when we first started working together it was a very, very different situation where I was broken.

“I was returning from a Achilles rupture and it was quite a potentially career-threatening injury.

“So to work together and basically work towards getting it right at the right moment in time, the stars aligned and it was a moment I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

“The only regret I suppose that we have is that my coach was unable to be out there with me, due to the Covid restrictions.

“But it’s bonded us for life and we can both look back on it and be proud of what we achieved.”

Away from athletics, Jonathan has run his own business as a therapist for the last eight years.

Now based in Loughborough, he has been trying to build a career pathway alongside his athletics pursuits and is in the process of writing a book about his life and what he has learnt, specifically in terms of mental resilience and helping others.

He is a proud ambassador of MiracleFeet, the leading children’s clubfoot charity which has already helped more than 61,000 children, across 30 countries.

The charity’s mission is to increase access to proper treatment for children born with clubfoot in low and middle-income countries, through partnerships with local healthcare providers.

“It’s an amazing charity,” said Jonathan, who is also an ambassador for the Inspire Plus charity, where he visits schools and encourages children to be as active as possible.

“It’s something that I’d been wanting to get on board with for many years because I’ve lived with Talipes Equinovarus, I’ve lived with Clubbed Foot and I’ve been fortunate to have the medical support in order to eradicate the clubfoot element of my foot and to function as normally as I probably could be able to.

“For me as an ambassador, I want to help to increase the awareness and support that MiracleFeet offer.

“Their goal is to ensure that every child born with clubfoot is able to access the treatment that’s required and thrive from it.


Magic moment - Jonathan Broom-Edwards after winning gold in Tokyo Picture: JOHN WALTON/PA WIRE

“I was very fortunate but there are a lot of people in poorer countries that can’t access this treatment and it does make a huge difference.

“It’s one in a thousand per year so every three minutes so by allowing people to access these treatments, it’ll help almost eradicate what the clubfoot element can do to these people from poorer countries.”

So what next for Jonathan?

He has returned to winter training and is feeling stronger than ever.

The aim is to compete at the 2024 Paralympics in Paris, when he will be 36 years old.

“I’ll probably aim to hang my boots up after that,” added Jonathan, who was appointed MBE in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to athletics.

“I feel like I’ve got a really good set up.

“I’ve got a really good coaching environment and support team; I know more about my body than ever before and I feel probably the strongest I’ve been.

“Paris is the aim and it’s only a three-year cycle, so it’s not quite as long as a previous one.

“Five years is a long slog and I almost need to re-find myself and live a normal life slightly before fully going back.

“You have to sacrifice a lot and you have family members who you don’t see, throughout the year.

“You’ve got friends who you don’t go out for socials, because it’s detrimental to the training.

“What’s important to me is increasing my reach to the people that I can help, in life.

“That’s something that I’m very passionate about and why I’m a therapist – I find a lot of joy in helping others better their own lives.

“The gold medal is increasing my profile which will hopefully give me an even bigger platform to help others.”

For more information on MiracleFeet and to donate, visit