Flint hero Jade Jones speaks of life in the spotlight


Jennifer Meierhans

JADE Jones shot to fame when she fulfilled the dreams of a nation to claim Olympic gold.

But the taekwondo champ insists she is a normal 19-year-old girl when she steps out of the arena.

Tall and slender in her team GB kit, with her brown hair scraped back and minimal make up, she looked flawless.

With her beaming smile it was hard to believe this was the girl whose relentless aggression floored her opponents.

As she proudly showed off her medal, she told me her healthy glow was down to a two-week break in Ibiza.

“I have been doing a lot of media stuff but I have started back training now,” she said. “I went to Ibiza for two weeks with my mum, stepdad, my two brothers and my boyfriend.”

Jade’s other half is taekwondo team-mate Jordan Gayle, 21, from Manchester. He missed out on the 2012 games after a knee injury.

Jade said: “We’ve been together properly for just over a year. We train together. Even when we went on holiday we were sparring in the room and we always had to stop because it gets too aggressive. We end up having a real fight.

“He just missed out on this Olympics, which was hard for him, but he’s been there for me so much. Hopefully he will get to go to Rio in 2016.”

Speaking of their time together outside of training, she said: “We just do the same as normal couples. We go for nice meals and to the cinema.”

She explained she was allowed the odd indulgence outside of her strict training regime, which trainer Paul Green said reduced her to tears.

“I am quite lucky,” she said. “Some people have to lose quite a lot to get into their weight category but because I am naturally 57kg I just have to watch it.

“I generally eat healthily but I am OK to pig out once in a while. But when I am training I don’t because its not good for you.

“My favourites are pizza, Chinese, chocolate and ice cream.”

Jade, nicknamed The Headhunter, now turns heads wherever she goes.

“It’s been a bit crazy because I’m not used to getting all this media attention,” she said.

“I went out in Manchester last Friday for my mate’s birthday and people recognised me. They gave us free drinks and let us in for free.”

The fierce fighter said she loves nothing more than getting glammed up for a girly night out.

She said: “I love going out with my friends and chilling with my family because I don’t get to see them much when I’m training.

“Everyone thinks just because you do taekwondo you’re a bruiser but I love getting girly and dressed up in high heels.”

Soon she will be arriving everywhere in style when she gets behind the wheel of a new Jaguar XF gifted to her when she reached elite member status of the brand’s academy of sport.

She said: “My new Jaguar is coming on Monday and I’m really looking forward to driving it. It will be a lot bigger than my Mini.”

For a young woman who obliterated her rivals to achieve sporting greatness, Jade is refreshingly warm and grounded.

But her fighting spirit shines through and makes her an inspiration to anyone who is chasing their dreams.

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