An Interview with Olympian Rebecca Romero

Olympic Champion Rebecca Romero MBE was the first British athlete, and only the second woman in history, to win Olympic medals in two different sports at the summer Olympic Games.  A former World Champion and Olympic Games silver medallist at rowing, and a former World champion and former Olympic champion track cyclist, she has now retired and runs her own sports performance consultancy.

She is currently an ambassador for the Energizer® Positive Energy Mum campaign, encouraging the UK to nominate their Positive Energy mum via the Energizer® UK Facebook page.  See below for how to nominate.

Here's my interview with Rebecca:

You had great success in your competing career, but also a number of setbacks with injury, selection, etc. How did you get through the more difficult times?

At the time, a setback, especially if it occurs at the worst possible time, can seem like the end of the world. Unfortunately, only the experience of them will help you put some genuine perspective on the situation! For that reason, having a setback can be a good thing; it’s all part of training yourself to deal with them. For that reason I used to try to embrace a setback when I had one. I would tell myself that it was a great learning experience, character strengthening, and that I would be better prepared to deal with future challenges should they arise. I tried to have faith that it was all happening for good reason and tried to pull out any positives from it that I could. You can always draw some positives from a negative situation.

How has your professional sporting career and training helped in your parenting? Can the two be compared?!

Yes, I think the two can be compared quite well. My sporting career has helped me to be focused on something 24/7, which is certainly a requirement of being a parent! As an athlete you’re always thinking about what or how you’re going to do things to enhance your development. This is similar to being a parent and being responsible for the development of your child. Also, training and competing is tough and stressful most of the time, but it does give you amazing rewards. Being a parent is the same. It’s hard work, but there are wonderful, joyous, heart-melting moments, which override the challenging times a million times over.

How much do you exercise/train these days? Do you have days where you just can't be bothered, or is there still a compulsion to train most days?

These days my priorities and goals have changed so there isn’t the necessity to train like I did for competing. But I still do exercise, not only because it’s important to be fit and healthy, but also because it’s a welcomed bit of ‘me time’ away from everything else I have going on. For a parent, particularly with young babies and toddlers, it can be hard to fit exercise in because days can be so random and hectic. But for me, even just a short amount of exercise (20-30mins) can be beneficial and make me feel energised. I would recommend trying to squeeze that in at least 4-5 times a week. I do admit though, there are certainly days where I just can’t be bothered and there is definitely not the compulsion to train most days!

I'm sure, like most working mums, you're constantly juggling and trying to get everything right. What does a typical day look like for you and your family? How do you fit everything in?

I’d imagine a typical day is just like the majority of couples with young families. At the moment, with a young baby and being on maternity leave, it’s hard to have a typical day and difficult to achieve the things I might set out to accomplish that day! I’m learning to alter my time allocation to tasks, as they inevitably take longer than I anticipate, and I’m accepting there will be days where I can’t fit everything in. We’re just entering the phase where there will be more structure and routine as I get back to work. I think good structure and routine will be the key to being able to juggle and get everything right. That and keeping life as simple as possible!

Lastly, my daughters are obsessed with being 'first' and 'winning' at the moment, with everything from getting dressed to running races. How do you think parents can channel this competitive impulse positively and creatively?

That’s a great question and I remember being like that! The aim should be for them to learn a healthy and constructive competitiveness that they can carry forwards in their lives. My advice would be to try to foster an environment where the competitiveness is fun and doesn’t become too serious. Try to create an environment where they are being introduced to as many different situations of competitiveness as possible. This will expose them to both winning and loosing, and to things they are good at and things that they are not so good at. Hopefully this will generate a balanced and positive attitude when harnessing their competitiveness and this will enable great future success!

Thanks for answering my questions Rebecca, some great food for thought for mums there!

Rebecca Romero is proud to be the ambassador for the Energizer® Positive Energy Mum campaign. Together, Rebecca and Energizer® are asking the UK to nominate their Positive Energy mum via the Energizer® UK Facebook page. So if you know a positive energy mum who has gone that extra mile, then please click onto the Energizer® Facebook page to nominate them! The competition is open until 8th August and the shortlist will be announced the week after. Not only does the Positive Energy mum win a UK short break for her and her family but you will also win the same – now that’s positive energy!


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