With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games being postponed to 2021, we thought we could talk about some previous Olympians and how they embody certain Olympic values. This first post of seven features Rebecca Adlington and her determination to succeed.
Name: Rebecca Adlington
Event: Freestyle swimming
Hometown: Mansfield, England
Rebecca Adlington made her first Olympic appearance in 2008, when she represented Great Britain as a freestyle swimmer. She delighted the nation with her record-breaking performance, in which she won not one but two gold medals – the first British swimmer to do so in 100 years! She came first in both the 400m and 800m freestyle events and even broke the 19-year-old world record set by Janet Evans for the 800m freestyle. Adlington came back to compete in the 2012 Olympics and again made it onto the podium, winning bronze medals in both the 400m and 800m freestyle events.
Outside of her outstanding Olympic performances, Adlington also won gold and silver medals at the World Aquatics Championships in 2011. She has also competed and won gold at the European Swimming Championships (2010) and the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Her brief but glittering career as a competitive swimmer ended in 2013, when she announced that she would be retiring from the sport. Since then, Adlington has worked as a TV pundit for the BBC at both the Olympic Games and the World Aquatics Championships, and has appeared on lots of other TV shows. You might have seen her on Celebrity MasterChef, Celebrity Come Dine With Me, or 8 out of 10 Cats.
What makes Rebeccas Adlington so determined to succeed?
Her achievements as a professional athlete boil down to two things: hard work, and determination. Though always a keen swimmer, Adlington was inspired to train harder than ever when her sister contracted encephalitis (a serious illness affecting the brain) in 2005. Adlington said this made her ‘more determined than ever’ to succeed. Three years after her sister’s illness, she went on to wow the world at the 2008 Summer Olympics. She became an Ambassador of the Encephalitis Society in 2009, where she helped to raise public awareness of the illness.