Cheers (and jeers) helped Jade Jones to Olympic gold

By Rob Virtue on September 19, 2012 10:39 AM |

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Team GB gold medal winner Jade Jones has revealed a secret to her taekwondo success at London 2012 - being booed.

During practice sessions coaches at the training centre in Manchester played loud crowd noises, including jeering, over speakers to get the fighters used to competing in a vocal atmosphere.

However, the 19-year-old from Wales admits even that didn't totally prepare her for what lay in store at the Excel.

"I tried to imagine it so it wouldn't be such a big shock and thought I knew what it would be like," she said.

"The training sessions helped with that, but when I got out there I thought 'oh my god'. It was crazy. I just had to keep my head down and forget it."

Jones kept her nerve to win gold in the 57kg event making it a whirlwind four years from the moment she first realised she wanted to compete at the London Games.

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"I was 15 watching taekwondo and remember seeing Sarah Stevenson in Olympics," she said.

"And I thought I want to be there. They use a different style for the Olympics so I had to change that, but ever since then I said I wanted to get in the academy.

"From there it got better and better and I got there in the end. I'm still high from the win. I'm sad it's all over but so glad I've got my medal."

Since the Games she's been back to her home town in Wales to see her gold letterbox but missed out on the victory parade in London after deciding to get away for a break.

"I've seen the letterbox and it's great for the town," said Jones. "I know how proud everyone is. There's a nice buzz and it gets everyone together.

"But I missed the parade because I went to Ibiza to get away from it for a couple of weeks. I didn't think anyone would recognize me being on holiday but they did.

"There were little kids coming up to me showing me their kicks. But at least we got free drinks and free meals.

"It's been great for the sport. People are come up to me and saying 'my kid's now started taekwondo'. Back when we were kids no-one knew what it was. It shows that the sport is getting a bigger profile."

Jones visited KPMG on Monday to mark City Academy Hackney's plans to open a taekwondo school for pupils.

The school is sponsored by the Wharf firm. The company has also sponsored GB Taekwondo for the last five years.

"I haven't done any coaching but definitely want to in the future and it's good to be a role model," said Jones.

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