Zoe Smith

Team GB Weightlifter. Age 22.

What advise would you give your teenage self?

If I could I’d probably tell my teenage self to start working hard now because it only gets harder.

How did you find yourself where you are today?

My story starts with me at 12 years old when I was a gymnast. I started to fall out of love with gymnastics a little bit and happened to fall into weightlifting. The gymnastics coach who got me into weightlifting actually said that I’d never go to the Olympics as a gymnast but I might as a weightlifter. At the time I took it as a throwaway comment but my progress skyrocketed from then on and I ended up going to the Olympics aged 18!

What does your day-to-day job involve?

An average day for me really evolves around training. I have to travel to Loughborough quite often to train with the GB squad. Outside of that I do a lot of competitions, which takes a lot of preparation.

Where do you find your confidence?

I find my confidence in a good gym session or a good performance, just something empowering like that. If I’ve been to the gym and trained really hard and I’m on track for a good competition, that really fills me with confidence. The same applies to going out and competing and really giving it your all on stage. It could be an Olympic Games or a just a South East Championships to qualify for the Olympics, but knowing that I’ve given it my best gives me confidence.

I’d probably tell my teenage self to start working hard now because it only gets harder.
What do you still hope to achieve?

My ultimate aim in life would be to win an Olympic Games, and if not then to at least medal!

If your teenage self could see you now, what would she think?

If my teenage self could see me now I think she’d be pleased. I wasn’t a bad student… From a young age I had to prioritise weightlifting so that meant that schoolwork tended to fall by the wayside a little which I’m not proud of but these things happen.