Occupation: Taekwondo Olympic Gold Medallist
A double Olympic gold Taekwondo champion, Jade had a disappointing result in the Tokyo Olympics, being knocked out in the first round. She would like to use the Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins course to show herself she still has the grit and determination to come back fighting at the next Olympics.
Why did you decide to put yourself through the toughest show on TV?
I’d just lost my third Olympics going into it, so I wanted to figure myself out a little bit. Most people go on it to see for yourself if you’re a strong person. So I wanted to see how strong I was.
You’re a martial artist, so did you feel you had anything to prove?
Obviously I’m a fighter and in a contact sport, so that gets people thinking I’m hard core, but I am quite a baby when it comes to anything else other than fighting basically! So I was a bit like, “oh do I really want to go on this show?” There was this fear of letting the martial arts world down because even my team mates were joking before I went in saying, “don’t let us down.” You know what I mean? You’ve got to protect the reputation of our sport, so I did feel a bit of pressure, at the same time, I’m human and just because I’m good at Taekwondo doesn’t mean I’m good at dangling off a cliff for example.
Did you know anybody who had previously done the show before who you could go to for advice?
Yeah. I met Jake Quickenden on another TV show and I knew he’d done it before. So I asked him and he basically said it’s the hardest thing he’s ever done, but he loved it. I think he’s the only person I’ve ever seen smiling about it though. So I probably asked the wrong person!
Did he give you any advice?
He just said just enjoy it. Like it is hard, but it’s amazing. Yes, to be fair, he didn’t really give me any advice. He just said that he loved it. So maybe that’s what convinced me to go on it!
Flying out to Jordan, what was your biggest concern about the course?
It was heights and knowing I’d do the backward dive at some point, the extreme, scary stuff! I hoped I’d be okay with the fitness and the training, because I love that anyway. But it was more the scary stuff, the fear of not being able to do it. I know how competitive I am, but I know how scared of things I am as well. So it’s such a conflict between those two things. It was just probably a fear of whether I would be able to do it or whether the fear would be bigger than that really.
What would you say was your strength going into the course?
I’d probably say my work ethic. I’m not scared to train hard and to put the work in. So I won’t stop unless I literally pass out. So I knew for a fact I wouldn’t give up unless someone ripped my armband off me.
Had you done any physical preparation before you went out there?
Well, no, to be fair. I obviously trained for the Olympics, but then you have time off after. So I probably wasn’t in my fittest phase going into it. I was a bit nervous about that as well, because obviously after competitions you get a bit heavier and you get a bit out of shape, so I thought, “oh God, that’s the only thing I had going for me”, worried about my fitness but I still obviously went running on the beach and tried to do as much as I could.
How would you rate your mental strength?
I always back myself, mentally. I’d say I’m tough. But then obviously losing in Tokyo gave me a bit of a knock and made me think, “oh God”, because there was a mental problem with why I lost. That made me think, “oh God, have I lost it?” So going into it, I probably lost a bit of confidence in that side of things. That’s one of the main things I wanted to figure out doing this show.
How did you feel about the other celebs when you found out who was in the line up? Was it nice having other Olympians there?
Yeah, to be fair, it was good to know these other athletes, but then also the competitiveness in me was like, “oh God, this one’s going to be tough.” There were loads of fit people on the show and I could tell everyone was going to take it serious. So it made it much harder!
How were you feeling about the DS and the fact that they were going to give you a hard time?
I thought, “I’ll have this one in the bag”, because we’re used to strict coaches in training and they’re constantly on at you. So I’ve grown up getting shouted at by coaches. But I do snap back sometimes. So then that can be a problem. But to be fair, probably because I thought they were going to be so bad, they didn’t seem as bad as I expected.
Were they intimidating though?
For me it was more like they were kind of inspirational. I didn’t expect to be so wowed by them. I just see them as a couple of cool characters that you want to impress. I remember when they first took the hoods off, I laughed and then you get shouted at. Straight away I was like, “oh shit. They’re not messing about!” It just made me think I cannot joke because I didn’t want to get punished. So I literally did become petrified of them and didn’t want to step out of line. They don’t take any shit!
How did you cope with the water challenges?
To be fair, I surprised myself. I’m not scared of water. I’m not a super strong swimmer, but it was more the backward dive into the water. That was one of my biggest fears. So I think that was my best moment on the show when I did that. I felt amazing.
How does Celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins compare to the Olympics?
The Olympics obviously is such an amazing experience and winning it was such a high and that’s your peak and it’s an ultimate feeling when you win. SAS obviously wasn’t as strong as that, but it was a constant high because you’re always challenging yourself and you’re always scared, and you’re always full of adrenaline, because you didn’t know what was going on. And then obviously you’re so nervous thinking you’re not going to do it and then you do something and it was like you’re on an adrenaline rush the whole time. So that’s like the closest thing to the Olympics, or how it felt to be there.
How would you sum up the whole experience?
I think just a once in a lifetime experience. An amazing challenge, amazing test, and I got to learn a lot about myself. I loved every minute to be honest. I loved all the things that I did, I would’ve never done in my life or never trusted that I could do. So I just loved how it pushed me to do things I never thought I could do.
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