Over and over again, the diminutive schoolgirl with a sunny smile would watch videos of boxing greats like Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard in the living room of her home in the Burmantofts area of Leeds.
At the time, Nicola Adams never thought it would be a sport where she would rule the world – boxing was not something for girls!
But that wasn’t going to stop the determined Nicola. A casual visit to a gym where boxers were training inspired her to take up the sport. She recalls it was all very sweaty, basic and old-school but thought to herself: ‘This is how Muhammad Ali must have started out.’
The roll call of her boxing achievements has made her one of Britain’s best known, and best loved,sportswomen: the first woman boxer to represent England in 2001, the first to win a medal in a major tournament in 2007, that golden moment at the 2012 London Olympics when she beat the world number one Ren Cancan of China, gold again at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and then the successful defence of her title with gold yet again in Rio earlier this year. Here's a great clip of an interview with Nicola from ITN.
Despite these successes, Nicola has retained a down-to-earth Yorkshire style – the gold medals are handed over to her mum for safe-keeping on her return home. And in the days before lottery funding made life a lot easier for sportspeople like Nicola, she wasn’t averse to doing a spot of painting and decorating to raise money for her training and travel.
So what does the future hold for one of Yorkshire’s greatest ambassadors? The gloves won’t be coming off for a while yet, and the Olympics in Tokyo beckon in four years time. But don’t be surprised to see Nicola on our tv screens in another role – she’s got the acting bug. She’s already appeared as an extra in Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Eastenders and really relished a part playing herself in the school drama Waterloo Road.
However she’s looking beyond cameo roles playing herself. Nicola’s on record as saying she’d love to have a crack at dramas like The Walking Dead and Games of Thrones. Ambitious for someone who’s known worldwide simply for her boxing prowess? Keep watching!!
Nicola is also an ambassador for the charity Fight For Peace - click on their logo below to find out more. Nicola says: “I am really proud to be an Ambassador for Fight for Peace as it is a fantastic charity which helps young people move away from crime and learn vital life skills, by combining boxing and martial arts with education and personal development. I am also aware of the important work that Fight for Peace does on a global scale and I visited the first Fight for Peace Academy in Rio de Janeiro shortly after London 2012. I really hope I can help to make a difference to young people’s lives and encourage more young females to become a part of this impressive and life-changing charity.”