The gold standard: Five British athletes reveal what it takes to get an Olympic body
Team GB hopefuls for Rio 2016, from left: Jazz Carlin, who wears SPORTS BRA, Monreal. FISHNET BRA and PANTS, Wolford. SKIRT, Capezio. JACKET (round waist), Rebecca Minkoff. SHOES, Jimmy Choo. JEWELLERY, Lola & Grace; Claudia Fragapane, who wears DRESS, Wolford. BRA, Lucas Hugh. SHOES, Christian Louboutin. EARRINGS, Jenny Sweetnam; Jessica Mendoza, who wears JACKET, Run Varun Sharma. BRA, Victoria’s Secret. SHORTS, Kini Swimwear. SHOES, Aldo. EARRINGS, Jenny Sweetnam; Bryony Shaw, who wears JACKET, Karl Lagerfeld. BIKINI TOP, Triangl. SHORTS, Eres. SHOES, Christian Louboutin. JEWELLERY, Jenny Sweetnam; Dina Asher-Smith, who wears BRA and SHORTS, Nike. SHOES, Christian Louboutin. SOCKS and JEWELLERY, Lola & Grace
THE SPRINTER: Dina Asher-Smith, 20
Dina lives in London and has been selected for the relay and 200m at Rio. In August last year she became both the fastest teenager and British woman in history after a record-breaking 200m sprint at the World Championships in Beijing.
Dina wears BRA and TRAINERS, Nike. SHORTS, Eres. SOCKS, Wolford. JEWELLERY, Lola & Grace
My route to Rio When I was seven, my friend offered to buy me an ice cream if I went to a new cross-country running club with her. Unknown to me, there was a race that day. I entered it and came fifth out of 400 children. I remember liking the feeling of having done well, so I entered another race and won that. I ended up joining my athletics club (Blackheath and Bromley Harriers) where they got me into sprinting when I was 11.
Until I was 17, I thought sprinting was just a hobby, something to put on my Ucas form. I was in my first year studying history at King’s College London when I broke the record in Beijing, and from then I thought I should take it more seriously.
In 2012, I was a kit-carrier at the Olympic Games on Super Saturday [when Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah all won gold]. It was crazy – the atmosphere was euphoric. To be at a point where someone has a connection with you and is proud of you, and yet they’ve never sat down and spoken to you, is insane. That’s what I’d like to be able to do [at Rio]. The Olympics mean so much to me, it makes me nervous even talking about them.
My body shape I’m short, slim and powerful – my long legs help. I’m lucky that I have a long femur [thigh bone], which helps you go as fast as possible – I’m really good at catching buses, but they don’t stop me missing planes, which I did the other week! Only because I’d got on a train in the wrong direction…
My biggest sacrifice I don’t get to see my friends as much as I’d like. Not being able to eat what I want is hard, too – deep-fried food just tastes so good!
Best compliment I’ve had about my body My boyfriend loves my body, although I want to get abs so he’s keen for that, too. He’s a US sprinter who I met on the circuit. It’s tricky seeing him, but I hope we can be together at the Olympics this summer.
Being known as the world’s fastest teenager is… Weird! I found out through Twitter – I had no idea about the statistics. But I don’t get hung up on it. For me, it’s the medals that count.
Fitness regime Training is about two and a half hours a day, which I fit around my university lectures. There are only so many runs or block practices you can do at a time; it’s so intense, so you have to turn up and do the best you can, before having an hour of medical to make sure your body is OK.
I like to relax by… Cooking. I’m such a foodie and I love making all the things I’m not allowed to eat, such as lasagne and cake. When I stop sprinting I want to go to culinary school.
Dina is a Nike-sponsored athlete
THE SHOWJUMPER: Jessica Mendoza, 20
Jessica, who lives in the Netherlands, is the youngest rider to represent the UK in 40 years. She has been picked as travelling reserve for Rio and is the only woman on the team.
Jessica's clothes as before, except SHOES, Karl Lagerfeld
My route to Rio I’ve been riding since I was three and was seven when I decided I wanted to be a professional showjumper. When I was ten a horse bucked me off and trod on me, breaking my ribs and puncturing a lung. It didn’t put me off, but I never got on that one again!
It’s a really glamorous sport; I’ve jumped on the beach in Miami and sunbathed hours before a show in Doha. And there are always big parties after the competitions.
In showjumping, you’re only as good as your last round. I was part of the team that qualified for Rio, but my first attempts were awful. I had to dig to find the determination for the final round.
My body shape Athletic, tall, lean. But my boyfriend [Belgian former jumper Michael Van Den Bosch] beats me at arm wrestling.
My horse Spirit T is my favourite. People say we’re similar as we’re food-oriented and can be mareish.
My biggest sacrifice Moving to the Netherlands when I was 18 (it’s easier to get to the competitions) and leaving my friends behind.
My diet I can eat whatever I want – the horses are on a stricter regime! They all have individually tailored feeds and supplements. Spirit is not allowed chocolate.
My fitness regime The key is getting your horses to peak fitness. I start about 8am and ride four or five horses by lunchtime. I start back at 2pm, then I’ll collapse about 5.30pm. You need good leg strength, for kicking the horse on, and strong arms, so you can hold them in. If I’m getting out of shape, I work on my core at the gym.
I like to relax by… Cooking the English meals I miss having at home, such as chicken pie.
THE GYMNAST: Claudia Fragapane, 18
Claudia is from Bristol and is awaiting selection for Rio. She won four gold medals in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and four gold medals at the 2016 English Championships. She was BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2014.
Claudia's clothes, as before
My route to Rio I was a bouncy baby – my mum once came home and found me at the top of a doorframe – so my parents decided my energy should go somewhere useful. I tried gymnastics and I loved it. I’ve been a member of my gym, the Bristol Hawks, since I was six. They spotted my potential and they’ve been a great support network. Now I’m travelling all over for competitions in the run-up to the Olympics.
My body shape I have strong muscles – it’s all about my abs and my legs. #Strongnotskinny is my favourite hashtag! And being 4ft 7in means it’s easier for me to do bar work than it is for taller people.
My biggest sacrifice I had to say goodbye to my friends once I left school – I don’t have any time to see them. Being away with my teammates at competitions is probably the closest I’ve come to a sleepover. My dad has banned any boyfriends until I’m 25. Gymnastics is a young sport, so I know I’ll have time to do stuff when I’m older. I want to set up my own gym and go on Strictly.
My pre-competition ritual My family are Christians, so I always pray before I begin a routine. That moment of mindfulness really helps me to focus.
Fitness regime I train twice a day, six days a week. You constantly have to look out for new routines.
I like to relax by… Hanging out at home with my family. I’m the middle of five sisters, so I love it.
THE SWIMMER: Jazz Carlin, 25
Jazz lives in Bath and has been selected to compete in the 400m and 800m at Rio. She won one gold and one silver at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Jazz wears VEST, Varley. BRA, American Apparel. SHORTS, Capezio. JEWELLERY, Lola & Grace
My route to Rio I joined my local swim club when I was five and went to my first Olympic trials at 13. I remember thinking, ‘That’s my dream.’ In 2011 I found out I had glandular fever; it was really tough. I went to the Olympic trials in 2012 and just missed out. I nearly walked away, but after watching the Games, I wanted to try for Rio. The past four years have been stressful, but it’s incredible to be going to Rio.
My body shape You can tell I’m a swimmer by my shoulders: they’re wide and strong. I’m proud of what I can do in the gym, especially the stuff some boys can’t, such as press-ups.
My biggest sacrifice There are a lot of things I’ve chosen not to do – I’ve missed friends’ weddings – but I’ve got a great group who understand that, for now, this is my focus.
Best compliment I’ve had about my body My boyfriend [former Team GB swimmer Lewis Coleman] thinks I’m too skinny, but he loves the fact that I’m strong and that swimming gives you curves in different places.
My support network My mum and dad. I hope they can come to Rio – after all those years of taking me to the pool at 5am, they deserve it.
Fitness regime I swim ten times a week for two and a half hours at a time, as well as putting in ten hours in the gym, plus physio and rehab.
I like to relax by… Shopping. I bought a house last October, so instead of buying dresses I find myself browsing for kettles.
THE WINDSURFER:Bryony Shaw, 33
Bryony lives in Weymouth and was selected for Rio in September 2015. She won bronze at her first Games in Beijing in 2008 and was seventh at London 2012. She won silver in this year’s World Championships.
Bryony wears JACKET, Karl Lagerfeld. BRA and PANTS, Freya. BANDEAU, Lacoste. TRAINERS, Pinko. JEWELLERY, Jenny Sweetnam
My route to Rio I first tried windsurfing on a family holiday to Wales when I was nine. I was hooked, even though growing up in Oxford meant I had to practise in a smelly reservoir. Now I’m in my 14th year as a professional windsurfer – it’s an endurance sport where it helps to have a lot of experience.
I made the papers when I won bronze at Beijing because I swore on breakfast TV when I received my medal. I even got a letter from a man who said I was a bad role model for his grandson! London 2012 was a huge disappointment. I was recovering from a superbug, then I found out that windsurfing was to be dropped from the Olympics from 2016. I didn’t let myself rest and came seventh. I was gutted. In November 2012, they reversed the decision to drop windsurfing. I was elated. Rio is the opportunity for me to fulfil a lifelong dream.
My body shape Powerful, aerobic, resilient and tough.
My biggest sacrifice I spent a year at Cardiff University studying architecture but left when I was being considered for the 2008 Olympics. I don’t think I missed out, though. I met one of my best friends there. I’m going to be her bridesmaid this summer.
Best compliment I’ve had about my body When I was younger I wanted to hide my muscular arms, but my boyfriend [US sailor Brad Funk] loves my athleticism.
The best lesson I’ve learned Recovery is as important as training. You need to switch off and not run over things in your mind – it saps your energy and means your body isn’t resting properly.
Fitness regime It’s a mix of being in the gym and on the water; we look at mind, body and board. You need to maintain clarity and make good decisions, have a strong body, and work your board intensely.
I like to relax by… Shopping and hanging out with my friends. I’m a water baby, though. I’ll even go windsurfing when I’m on holiday!
- Mot Models
- Set: Gareth at London Art Makers. Styling: Marie-Louise von Haselberg. Make-up: Nat van See at Soho Management. Hair: Heath Massi at Frank Agency and Jason Crozier at Soho Management
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