Dou­ble Olympic gold ath­lete Jade Jones on stay­ing at the top of her sport­ing game

DOU­BLE OLYMPIC GOLD ATH­LETE JADE JONES SPEAKS TO LIZ CON­NOR ABOUT STAY­ING AT THE TOP OF HER SPORT­ING GAME AHEAD OF TOKYO 2020

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Jade is an am­bas­sador for Scholl’s #Feetofthen­ation cam­paign. Visit scholl.co.uk to nom­i­nate the hard­est-work­ing feet you know.

TAEK­WONDO champ Jade Jones shot to fame af­ter win­ning gold at Lon­don 2012, be­fore be­com­ing the youngest ever Brit to re­tain her Olympic ti­tle in Rio four years later. Ruth­less, com­mit­ted and with a mean right foot, the 25-year-old fighter has been dubbed ‘The Head­hunter’, thanks to her trade­mark point-scor­ing kicks to the head.

Now the Welsh ath­lete has her sights set on scor­ing a triple Olympic win at Tokyo 2020, with hopes of be­com­ing the first Bri­tish woman to achieve three gold medals in three dif­fer­ent Olympics.

Be­tween train­ing, we caught up with the star to talk diet, train­ing and her all-time sport­ing hero.

How did you dis­cover taek­wondo?

“I STARTED when I was about eight. I was a bit of a naughty kid, so my grand­dad de­cided to get me into mar­tial arts. The first day I tried it, I just fell madly in love with it – I’d cry if I couldn’t get to a ses­sion.”

How of­ten do you train?

“I TRAIN from Mon­day to Fri­day, usu­ally for about five or six hours ev­ery day. I’m kick­ing bags and spar­ring, but then I also do weights and car­dio fit­ness as well.

“There’s a lot of va­ri­ety, which is good for me. I don’t know how run­ners just con­stantly run – I’d find that so hard.”

What do you love most about the sport?

“THE fact that if you switch off for a sec­ond you can get knocked out; the adren­a­line buzz of it. It’s fast-paced and there’s no space for er­ror be­cause you’ll lose a fight.”

How painful is it to take a kick? “LUCK­ILY, I’ve never been knocked out, but when you get clocked hard, it does hurt – I’m not go­ing to lie! Peo­ple think it doesn’t, be­cause we have pad­ding or a head guard, but that’s not the case.”

You started from a young age. Is it a good sport for kids to learn?

“DEF­I­NITELY. Taek­wondo is all about be­ing cour­te­ous and re­spect­ful, so for kids who just want to do it for fun, it teaches you re­spect and dis­ci­pline.”

Who are your sport­ing he­roes?

“I AL­WAYS looked up to Kelly Holmes grow­ing up, be­cause she strug­gled a lot with in­jury and then fi­nally got her gold medal at 34. The fact that she never gave up is al­ways in­spi­ra­tional to me.”

What’s your diet like?

“WHEN we’re get­ting closer to a com­pe­ti­tion, it’s re­ally strict. I have to lose six to seven ki­los ev­ery time I fight. I’m nat­u­rally 63kg, so it’s all about eat­ing healthily and cut­ting down. I can’t af­ford to eat badly – es­pe­cially al­co­hol, which is the most calorific thing.”

You’ve won gold at the last two Olympic Games, do you feel un­der pres­sure to keep win­ning be­cause you’ve had such an amaz­ing jour­ney so far?

“I AL­READY know that, come Tokyo, there’s go­ing to be so much pres­sure on me. No­body’s ever got three gold medals in taek­wondo, and no Bri­tish fe­male Olympian has ever achieved three gold medals in three dif­fer­ent Olympics as well.

“Ev­ery­one is go­ing to be won­der­ing if I can do it.

“I think it just shows that I’ve got to be a men­tal ma­chine. I’m re­ally good at the ‘do or die’ kind of pres­sure, es­pe­cially when it comes to the Olympics, when I re­ally want to win.”

What does it feel like to win an Olympic gold medal?

“THE first one took years to sink in, it didn’t feel real. Even now it still doesn’t un­til I watch a clip back. You train for years and years of your life, there are ups, downs and tears – so many dif­fer­ent emo­tions – and then for it all to pay off on that one day, it’s an in­de­scrib­able feel­ing.”

With Tokyo 2020 com­ing up, how are you pre­par­ing?

“IT’S a long jour­ney, so I’m just try­ing to men­tally and phys­i­cally get into the best shape pos­si­ble so that by the time it comes around, I’ll be head and shoul­ders above the rest.”

You’ve teamed up with Scholl for their lat­est cam­paign. How im­por­tant is it for your feet to be in peak phys­i­cal con­di­tion ahead of a big match?

“IT’S re­ally im­por­tant. I train five or six hours ev­ery day and my feet get bat­tered, and they’re of­ten aching. I can’t wait to get in and put my feet up! So it is im­por­tant to have the right sup­port.”

Jade Jones with her Rio Gold, and on win­ning form dur­ing a Taek­wondo bout. Right, her sport­ing hero, Dame Kelly Holmes

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