I think we just need to take a moment to talk about Nicola Adams.
If you don’t already know (and I will be astounded if you don’t), Nicola Adams is the first woman to win an Olympic boxing title– which she earned in 2012 in London. Adams is part of Team GB, and will also be competing this year in Rio.
(If you’re trying to keep up to date, Adams was given a bye for the first round, meaning that because there was an odd amount of fighters, she was randomly selected not to fight, and to automatically be entered in round two. She will be competing on the 16th of August at 3 pm GMT, so make sure to watch!)
Not only is she the world’s first female boxing champion, but she is also the first ever English female to earn a medal at a major tournament. This was the European Championships in 2007, where she won silver – and then, in 2011, she won Great Britain’s first ever gold, too. Not only that (because, oh yes, there is more), Nicola Adams is the first English woman to receive a medal in the 2008 AIBA Women’s World Championships.
She is literally Great Britain’s most decorated female boxer, and she owns my ass.
The 2012 Olympics was the first year I really got into the games – it was in my country, all of the presenters were speaking English, and hell – Tom Daley looked mighty fine in a pair of speedos up on that diving board. But then came the fighting events, and never before had I seen anything like it.
These Olympians – specifically, the woman’s division (because I didn’t watch the men’s) – turned me to fighting; this is what inspired who I want to be, and how I want to live. Specifically, before I discovered Nicola Adams, I stared, wide eyed and mouth open, as Jade Jones fought with all of her heart in the lightweight division of taekwondo.
Then, later, I watched Nicola Adams, and I fell in love.
There’s just something about it – something about the way these women fight; show that they’re strong, powerful, demanding of the spotlight and their rightful place on the podium. There’s something about the way they clench their fists, school their expression and just fight, like it was what they were born to do – it makes me want to do it, too.
I actually looked up taekwondo lessons in my area – the only reason I’m not four years down the line of being a badass is because I chickened out.
But these ladies – Nicola goddamn Adams – didn’t. They found that they were strong, they were powerful, they could kick the crap out of their opponents, and it was amazing. This is who I’ve always wanted to be – these are my heroes.
And Nicola Adams – what a hero.
Maybe – maybe she isn’t to you. Maybe you don’t watch people kicking ass in boxing rings and feel yourself get lightheaded over the prospect of living within 258.1 miles of them – maybe that’s just me. But this is an openly bisexual woman who was named the most influential LGBT person in Britain by The Independent. She’s the first openly LGBT person to win an Olympic boxing Gold medal – she is just as strong and unwavering in who she is, as she is out there in the ring.
And guys, she was awarded by the Queen with an MBE. Do you know what that is? It’s being appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire. Like, can you even get your head around that? I can’t. Here is this strong, influential black woman, being rewarded by the goddamn Queen of England.
Nicola Adams is literally just who I want to be.
Why else? Maybe because of this quote, taken from a BBC interview with her a year ago: “I remember thinking to myself one day that I would be an Olympic Champion.”
That quote. That quote amongst an interview where she explains how she had the dream of being a champion without women’s boxing even being an Olympic sport. How amazing is that? What sort of drive must you have to be thinking, with the knowledge of your sport not even being included in the Olympics, that you were going to win a medal there one day? Even though there doesn’t seem to be a chance of it – she was still powering through anyway.
That drive and motivation that fuels her is inspiring in the same way that it’s so seriously outstanding how she keeps fighting after her injuries (re: 2014 and her shoulder injury) and how she keeps bouncing back and powering through and winning, anyway.
I want to be like that.
I want to be like Nicola Adams.
Honestly, I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t.
You can find out more about Bethany on her author page.