Did you have any female role models when you were growing up and if so who were they? How did they help to motivate you?
Mrs Jones – deputy head St Cyres. Audrey was a formidable, brilliant teacher. Passionate about women’s education; she brought in ex students who were Doctors and scientists to challenge what we thought we could do
When did you first realise that you had a sporting talent?
I always enjoyed competing and training, but I was 16 when I won the junior national 100m title. This was when other people started looking at me and talked about how much further I could go in sport. I made it on to the squad at 17 which was a big boost for me
What was your toughest challenge within your sporting career?
Competing in Athens was pretty tough. In the 800m, which was my strongest event, I made the wrong tactical decision that put me in a tight spot that I couldn’t get out of. I just blocked myself in. I had won the 800m at the previous 3 Games. It was my first final of the Games and I still had the 100m, 200m and 400m to go. Getting everything together was hard.
When were you first aware that you were a role model and inspiration to others?
It is not something that you ever set out to do.
Do you think that the business and corporate world can learn from the sport and adventure world to help them to achieve their goals and targets?
There is so much crossover between sport and business. In sport you are in a pressurised environment where you have to deliver all the time. If you do not improve every year then your position on the squad is in jeopardy. There is something inspirational about winning medals, but there is so much more to it that people just don’t see.
If you were able to go back in time to your teens and give three words of wisdom or advice to yourself what would they be?
Patience (I was always in a hurry) and sometimes stepping back a little and enjoying the moment is a good thing to do
How did you know when to retire from your sport? Was it a hard decision to make?
I was 37 when I retired so in sporting terms I was older. You know that it gets harder to recover and train, and that injuries take a little longer to heal. I had been thinking about it for a little while but in the end it wasn’t that difficult. The challenge was thinking about transition in to another career. It was also important for me to have a decent crossover. I think the resilience that I learned from sport contributed how I was able to make decisions and be able to find solutions