Jade Jones on prospect of winning Tokyo Olympics gold in front of no crowds
Jade Jones, who won gold for Team GB in women’s taekwondo at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, speaks about her inspirations, her training during the lockdown and the prospect of competing in Tokyo without a crowd.
You won the European Taekwondo title without a crowd because of Covid last month. That must be reassuring with regard to the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year?
I try to be open-minded because I don’t know what to expect. I just need to get excited now and try to bring this gold back for my family and friends. I always say I’m a big game player. The Olympics are the biggest event of all, and that’s when I rise up and take it to the next level. Sometimes I lost because I couldn’t light up because it’s not that bad. At least I had this practice with no one there so the Olympics won’t be the first time.
Was it harder to stay at your combat weight during the lockdown?
It was the hardest it had ever been. I had an injury too, so I didn’t train for a few weeks, and I was living with an athlete who is a heavyweight so she would cook me and give me cakes. I could see my weight increasing. I thought, “My trainer is going to kill me!”
How does being a double Olympic gold medalist change you?
I don’t think I’ll ever change. That’s what my family is kidding about. I am still common as mud. But I like it, no matter what, I’ll be Olympic champion for the rest of my life.
You did some crazy things with your taekwondo, like kick Jonathan Ross in the head…
Yes! And when I was on The Jump, going down the skeleton at so many miles an hour, thinking, ‘How did I end up doing that? My goal was to get out of that in one piece because my trainer wasn’t happy about me continuing. I thought to myself, ‘I’m tough, I’m fine’ but I was very careful.
What are your inspirations?
I loved Kelly Holmes when I was a kid. She’s been through so much, then came out on top and won the Olympic gold medal at 34. And every athlete who manages to win and stay on top because I know how difficult it is.
Did you enjoy going on Celebs Go Dating?
Yes, all of those TV shows I’ve been on have been the funniest of my life. Being an athlete is boring – just eat, sleep, train and rehearse, you are too tired to do anything else. So having these downtime after the Olympics, like when I was in Cape Verde for a week drinking cocktails, I was like, “Wow! This is what I should do!
Are there any other reality shows you would like to do?
I would love to do I’m A Celebrity…, just for this challenge. I’d do the eating part well because I’m used to depriving myself of taekwondo. When everybody eat beans, I’d be like, what are you moaning about? Its good! I think I would also be very scared.
Your grandfather must be so proud of you, being the one who brought you to taekwondo.
Absolutely. I started to get a little cheeky and he wanted me to go on the right track. He heard there were martial arts classes at the local recreation center so it was just a coincidence that it was taekwondo and I loved it. I haven’t looked back and Grandpa always tells me bad things that I did in my fight and what would have been better.
You are behind the Bioglan wellness campaign, where you get a free virtual health consultation. How did your consultation go?
I was recommended a few supplements that might help with recovery and inflammation. More people could benefit from having their bodies checked, and the pit stops will help you find out what can help. Plus, you can get freebies! I was taking vitamin D and omega-3s every day and was told to add red krill oil, magnesium, and curcumin as well. I didn’t know about them and it definitely made a difference. I see my body as a machine – if you put the wrong fuel in your car it won’t work. I’ve always been obsessed with eating the right things and staying in shape, and locking in has increased that. And with the training load I’m putting on myself, even though I’m getting the right fuel in my body, you still need a little help with the nutrients you’re lacking.
You started training young. Do you think every eight year old should start learning a martial art?
Yes, martial arts teach a lot of things like self defense and respect. It also allows you to concentrate. I would like my kids to play sports because it also teaches you life skills – as you don’t always win you have to take losses and keep moving things can be tough. I recommend sport to all children.
■ For more details on Bioglan’s free virtual health consultations and a free supplement, see bioglan.co.uk/bioglan-pitstop
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