Olympic gold medalist Rebecca Adlington never actually liked racing

The former professional swimmer may have gold medals to her name, but Adlington says she isn’t actually that competitive


Rebecca Adlington took part in some of the biggest swimming competitions in the world, smashed records and scooped Olympic medals, but it turns out she never actually enjoyed the races.


“I didn’t enjoy racing, I never enjoyed racing. I just happened to be good at it,” Adlington told RadioTimes.com in Austria where she’s joined the line-up for Channel 4 sports reality show The Jump.

“I loved the training. For me, training is what I loved when I swam. I’m just not competitive. It’s just not in my nature. I just happened to do something I loved every single day. And that was for me just luck – I was just so happy that I found something I loved.”

Adlington retired from the sport in 2013 as a double Olympic champion, but continues to be involved as a commentator. She’ll be back in the commentary box for this year’s Olympics in Rio.

As for diving back into a competition in the form of The Jump, she jokes that everyone “forgets she’s an athlete” while she trains for the various winter sports, which includes skeleton and air jumps.  

“I’m just so not like that. No-one sees me as a threat, I’m just not competitive, I’m crying and I’m like, ‘Oh my God!’”

She’s up against some other famous faces from the world of professional sport, with sprinter Linford Christie and gymnast Beth Tweddle joining the show, too. But – taking to slopes for the first time – she says people have quickly stopped clubbing her in with ‘the Olympians’.

“I think everyone’s been shocked because everybody’s put me, Linford and Beth in the same category and I think it pretty much took one day to go, ‘Yep, Beth’s on her own’.”

Adlington’s part in the competition currently remains unclear as she’s hurt her shoulder while training. She was checked out at the hospital and is back with the other competitors but a decision has yet to be made if she’ll continue. Former Hollyoaks actress Gemma Merna will step in as reserve if she’s forced to withdraw.


The Jump starts tonight at 7:30pm on Channel 4