Rebecca Adlington

Hear Rebecca talking about what it takes to be a top swimmer.

The Portrait

Rebecca Adlington
Photographed by Bettina von Zwehl
13 May 2011, Nottingham University

Rebecca Adlington’s unexpected gold medals in the 400m and 800m freestyle events in Beijing 2008 made her the first British swimmer to win multiple gold medals at a single Olympic Games for a hundred years. She met her long-term coach, Bill Furniss, when she began competing in Nottingham at the age of ten. Winning double gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and gold at the 2011 World Championship are milestones along Adlington’s journey towards defending both her Olympic titles and her 800m Olympic record at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

‘What inspired me was my two older sisters, they swam when I was little and I wanted to be like them.’
Rebecca Adlington

© Bettina von Zwehl/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012