We meet two of Team GB’s rising stars and discover there really is ‘no place like home’.
How does an elite athlete spend their downtime? What makes the ideal support network for them to achieve glory? These are questions most of us rarely think about, if ever. After all, we judge our sports stars purely off their performances on the biggest stages, under the greatest pressure, with the entire world watching with bated breath. These are the iconic moments that can define our memories for years to come, and one thing’s for sure, they aren’t created in a day.
To celebrate their sponsorship of Team GB and the run up to Rio 2016, DFS have been shining a spotlight on some of the team’s young stars (brand ambassadors Adam Peaty and Max Whitlock) to give us an intriguing peek into their everyday lives, discovering more about the impact of both a strong support system and home network.
Swimmer Adam Peaty feels at home both in the pool and more importantly, with family.
It should come as no surprise to hear that becoming a successful Olympic athlete demands an incredible amount of hard work, discipline and dedication, but – and here’s the interesting part – the ability to switch off and let the body and mind recover is perhaps just as important to any routine.
This is a crucial message for dads to take on board. New dads in particular have this great, looming fear of a new arrival destabilising their athletic goals and leaving them a beer-bellied mess by their mid-thirties, when it is quite regularly the opposite.
Don’t just take my word for it, let Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth Long Jump Champion Greg Rutherford explain how the new addition to his family was a perfect distraction and helped to inspire his continued success.
The fact is no-one is a superhuman (except perhaps Usain Bolt) and something as simple as spending a few hours with loved ones, feet up on the sofa and terrible TV on in the background, can make all the difference when it comes to tackling your next session.
In the swim of things
For someone who was afraid of water when they were eight years old, it’s accurate to say youngster Adam Peaty has overcome his fear quite spectacularly.
Announcing himself on the international scene by breaking the 50m Breaststroke world record at the European Championships in 2014, three gold medals at the 2015 World Championships and the 100m Breaststroke world record have since cemented his place as one of Britain’s brightest swimming stars.
Despite the gruelling 35-hours of training a week expected from an Olympic swimmer, it’s clear that for Adam – who still lives with his parents (and has his washing done by #1 Fan, Nan) – downtime at home is really about the importance of spending time with family.
Aside from the obvious opportunity to relax and repair, these moments away from the pool also give him strength and keep him motivated once he’s back in the water. Making his friends, family and hometown proud is something that he firmly believes will carry him those few extra strokes in Rio, and beyond. Judging by his success so far, who’s going to argue?
A one-horse race
By contrast, for 2015 Pommel Horse World Champion Max Whitlock, home is a base camp. Starting gymnastics at a mere seven years old, training for his sport over the past 16 years can be summed up by the word ‘routine’; and it’s this routine that he loves.
As you might imagine, 35 hours of training a week, six days a week, across all six gymnastic apparatus, can take quite a toll on the body and the build up to competitions can get incredibly intense.
That’s why for Max, who also recognises how much of a part his family have played in his success, spending time at home is mostly about recovery from his rigorous routine, repair and setting himself up for the next day of training. We may not all be professional athletes, but this aspect of home; providing that beacon of hope and relaxation we head back to after a long day’s work, is something many of us will recognise.
Besides, maybe that’s the point? Whether it’s a sanctuary, inspiration or something uniquely personal, it seems that ‘home’ is with us wherever we go.
This post is sponsored by DFS