There are a little less than 330 days left until the Olympic Games in Paris 2024. Throughout the upcoming months, as we approach the monumental event, we will learn more about Europe’s Olympic hopes. First up is Lucy RENSHALL of Great Britain who is currently #1 in the -63kg category.
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Her most recent success includes winning the Zagreb Grand Prix a few weeks ago, her 20th IJF World Tour medal. Lucy’s record speaks for itself and during this series. We will gain deeper insight into our elites, on and off the mat. As they prepare for the Summer Games in 2024.
From Childhood Dreams to Olympic Glory: Lucy’s Journey to Paris 2024
Lucy describes herself as being a sporty person from a young age. The Paris Olympic 2024 goal was set from a very early stage. The only thing she did not know was in which sport she would achieve her childhood dream. She was never pushed to the elite level, nor needed much. Outside influence as her mind was set on one goal, and one goal only.
A time-honoured role model came along with the journey. I tried every single sport throughout school, and my parents would take me to lots of clubs. I just loved participating in sports, and I loved the feeling of winning. Then when I was eight, Peter Blood came to my primary school to do a taster session of judo. I, of course, wanted to give it a go. After 6 weeks of trying judo out in school, I joined the SKK Judo Club.
When I started coming through as a younger athlete, I would always be inspired by the older athletes. But being lucky enough to train alongside Sally Conway was so inspiring for me. She is a role model in judo to me. In 2013, the British National Training Centre was formed, and I was selected to be a part of that program. That’s where I began training full-time, and my real turning point into elite level. At the age of 14, Lucy carved her Paris 2024 dreams into the furniture at her parents’ house in St Helens. In 2022, she revisited the caption as #1.
Lucy’s Path to Excellence: Overcoming Challenges in the World of Judo
For years and years, the British Judo team had an incredibly strong pool of -63kg judoka. You could have put any of them onto an IJF World Tour event, and you were likely to be guaranteed a medal. Lucy, for several years, was not the first choice, nor the second. Having to fight your way out of your team before showcasing your talent internationally, surely, is mentally more challenging.
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Lucy remained strong on her way. Having the depth of talent in the -63kg in GBR is one of the reasons I have got this far in judo. Although it can be stressful and upsetting at times when things are not going your way, having the girls there is what pushes me every single day. I couldn’t skip a session or not give a session my all because I had to train to get to the top.
That was my motivation, To be number one, and train like number two, and that’s a quote I will stand by on the rest of my judo journey. I trained alongside Alice Schlesinger and her coach, Pavel, in her lead-up to the Paris Olympic 2024, and seeing how incredibly hard she worked gave me an insight into what I needed to do to reach her level.
From the Mat to Coaching and Fulfilling a Father’s Dream
Lucy’s ultimate timeout is travelling and exploring the world. Her hobby and passion remain on the mat with occasional BJJ classes and coaching at her local club. I coach now at a local judo club in Birmingham, Stewart Judo Academy. I never really thought I would ever find a passion in anything else the way I have a passion for competing, but I have.
I love giving back to the sport and working with other judoka to help them reach their goals and dreams. I want to make as many happy judoka as I can! My dad passed away in 2019. We have always been so close, but judo brought us even closer. He loved watching me compete and train, and he was my biggest supporter.
After he passed, I knew I had to do everything I could to qualify for the Olympic Games. We have always spoken about me going to an Olympics since I was younger, so knowing how proud I would have made him, I carried on training hard every single day to reach that goal. Still, judo makes me feel close to my dad because I’m doing it for both of us. I would love to have an Olympic medal and be supporting other judoka in reaching their goals and dreams, whatever that may be.
Lucy’s Olympic Journey: Finding Strength in Support and Resilience
Being the best in the world does not mean that you are a superstar 24 hours, 7 days a week. Lucy, just like everyone else, has times when she questions it all. She reveals her ‘special power’ to push through those dark days, which goes hand in hand with her opinion on what it takes to become an Olympic Champion.
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Judo is such a hard sport, and as I said I love the feeling of winning, but the feeling of losing hurts so, so badly, and I sometimes wonder if it is worth it. I have always come back from losses and proved to myself that it is worth it for the good times. I would say for sure; that my ‘special power’ is my support system.
My family, boyfriend, friends, and coaches are there for me through the highs and lows equally, and they are all my motivation to be the best athlete I can be. You must be physically strong but mentally stronger. Becoming an Olympic Champion in my opinion is hard work and dedication from a team.
Lucy’s Olympic Paris 2024 Journey: From Venue Visit to Gold Medal Dreams
At the beginning of this year, Lucy was part of the crew to visit the Paris Olympic 2024 venue, Champ de Mars Arena, where the judo event will be held during the 2024 Summer Games. Lucy was thankful for the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere. I was so grateful to be allowed to go and see the Paris 2024 venue. The venue is insane, with the best view; I had goosebumps being in there. For sure, it gave me the motivation and drive to keep working hard and pushing to get that Olympic selection and be able to fight in that venue.
Lucy exposed that one of her rituals before an event is listening to music. Her playlist for Paris 2024 is loading… strictly for gold? I never go to any competition and do not dream of or want the gold medal. An Olympic Gold medal is the goal, but I will be proud of myself no matter what because I know the sacrifices I have made and the hard work I have put in to get to where I am now. In any case, I would dedicate my medal to my whole family but of course, first and foremost to my dad.
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