Lauren Price on the podium with flowers anda gold medal

Tokyo 2020: Lauren Price’s Olympic gold in boxing proves it’s never ‘too late’ to learn a new skill

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Team GB’s Lauren Price won gold in middleweight boxing at Tokyo 2020, proving that skilled sportsmanship is completely versatile. 

Lauren Price won the middleweight boxing final on the last day of the Tokyo Olympics, becoming only the second British woman, and first Welsh fighter, to take home a gold medal in the sport, having beaten China’s Li Qian.

“I can’t really put it into words – it’s a dream come true,” Price told BBC Sport after winning. “I still have to pinch myself. It’s been years of hard work and if you dream and work hard enough you can achieve anything.”

She’d been confident going into Sunday’s fight, having told BBC Sport that “It’s nothing new to me, going into a final. I’ve been here before.” While it’s true that Price won gold in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2019 European Games, her sporting success doesn’t end there.

At the age of 12, Price was a World Champion kickboxer. She then went on to become a pro footballer, earning 52 caps for Wales and winning the 2013 Football Association of Wales Club Player of the Year for her success with Cardiff City – the same year that Gareth Bale took home the men’s prize. 

Price has previously credited her kickboxing prowess with helping her improve her football skills, telling The Daily Telegraph that it helped her to “kick a ball a lot further than any of my teammates”. 

But it was watching Nicola Adams’ success as a female boxer that persuaded her to transition from the pitch to the ring. “I had a decision to make between boxing and football,” she told BBC Sport in 2014. “With the Olympic journey starting with the Commonwealth Games, I decided that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I just had to take it.”

Lauren Price and opponent during boxing match
Tokyo 2020: ex-footballer Price is through to the boxing finals

Now, aged 27, she’s fighting for her first Olympic gold, proving that there’s no such thing as ‘too late’. If anything, trying your hand at a variety of sports is actually a great way to succeed. “Many people think that their career is over once they stop competing in a certain sport,” says physiotherapist and weight lifting coach Samantha Williams. “The Olympics this year has proved that sport can give you so many transferable skills and abilities that you really could be just as wonderful – if not better – at something else.”

While not all of us are blessed enough to be in the top class divisions of multiple sports, that’s still an important lesson. If an injury has stopped you from your passion of running, or you can feel yourself falling out of love with weight lifting, it doesn’t mean your training has to stop. Emily Campbell, the silver medalist in weightlifting, proved this too: she started life as a shot-putter who only began lifting to improve her performance. She ended up falling in love with the sport in its own right. 

Often, it can feel like you have to put yourself in a box as a yogi, gym goer, runner, tennis player, swimmer or Crossfitter. But Price proves that you can do – and excel – at more than one thing. Plus, as Price herself said in 2014, “I can always go back to football. It’s not the end of the journey.”

For more coverage on the Olympics, check out Strong Women on Instagram @StrongWomenUK

Images: Getty

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).

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