To celebrate the London 2012 Olympic boxing victory of Leeds girl Nicola Adams, the Post Office is celebrating by painting a gold postbox in the centre of Leeds (taking a reputed four coats); something that it is doing in every hometown of a gold medal Olympic Champion.
Competing in the Woman’s flyweight competition against China’s Ren Cancan, Adams was declared winner in the 51kg final with a 16-7 victory; a match that was watched by both Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Though Nicola’s story isn’t quite as regular as what you might expect.
As if taken from the realms of Rocky itself, she was once almost forced to give up the sport that she loved after being unable to afford the funding to continue; no one would sponsor her.
Growing up on the tough Burmantofts Estate, all Nicola wanted to do as a child was box. A girl nicknamed ‘babyface’, she was inspired by her idols, Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard.
‘Watching the older fighters get in the ring, I dreamed that one day I could do that.’
A girl shaped by her inner city surroundings however, Adam’s pledged her determination to the sport and funded her ambition by working on construction sites as well as appearing as an extra in soaps like Coronation Street and Eastenders.
At the age of eighteen however, she became the first woman boxer ever to represent England; just four years before this, people were still debating as to whether women were actually allowed to box in a professional sphere.
Despite this, and winning a European boxing medal in 2007, funding was still a dream for Nicola. In fact it would not be until 2009 when the International Olympic Committee backed women’s boxing for the first time in its history; she now receives £27,737 a year from UK Sport and drives in a sponsored car.
Throughout the final she was spurred on by the crowd who relentlessly screamed her name throughout the event; a wonderful inspiration for any athlete:
”During the fight all I could hear was people chanting my name. I thought ‘bloody hell’ and it gave me the energy to throw more punches.”
After winning the medal however, Adams looks to keep her feet firmly on the ground as she stated that she plans to celebrate by visiting her favourite restaurant – Nando’s.