Girls now know they can look gorgeous and sporty! Swimmer Rebecca Adlington hopes Games will help girls get into sport
I know people are having post-Olympic blues, but for me it's so nice to have some down-timeWe show you can be slim but in a healthy way
16:56 GMT, 17 August 2012
Role model: Rebecca is looking forward to some well-deserved time off, after months of hard training
After months of training, coping with a highly-expectant home crowd and winning two bronze Olympic medals, Rebecca Adlington is surely a woman in need of a rest.
Instead, the blonde swimmer from Mansfield, is passionately explaining why she thinks the Games could prove crucial in getting girls into sport.
'Women have really stood out at these games,' she says.
'I just really hope we've inspired a younger generation to get out there and try and find a sport that they enjoy and suits them.'
She points to two of the 'poster girls' of London 2012 – cyclist Victoria Pendleton and heptathlete Jessica Ennis as examples.
'I think in Britain we have some of the best role models,' she says.
'Victoria and Jessica are both stunning with amazing figures. They show you can be slim but in a healthy way.'
She added: 'You can be an athlete but still be feminine. As a swimmer I can't really do anything with my hair or makeup, so that's why I paint my nails. Sport doesn't mean you can't be girly.'
Her words have extra weight as she is clearly comfortable in her own skin, despite unpleasant jibes from comedian Frankie Boyle and huge media attention.
'I've found women do get judged more than men on their looks. It's how it is, you just have to grin and bear it,' she says.
Her advice to those youngsters who have enjoyed watching the action in the Aquatics Centre is to 'start lessons or join a swimming club.'
'Clubs are good as they organise competitions. They are like a family,' she says.
But had she never got into the pool, what other sport would Rebecca have gone for
'Cycling,' she says after a moment's deliberation.
'It was fascinating to watch on TV – I didn't manage to get a ticket for the velodrome.'
Here's what you could win: Rebecca Adlington shows young swimmers her two bronze medals
Looking glamorous: Rebecca (left) wearing her patriotic nail polish and bronze medal for 400m freestyle. With her swimming friend and bride-to-be Keri-Anne Payne at an awards launch this week
The 23-year-old is planning her own
two-wheeled trip across Gambia in aid of charity. Luckily for her she's
good friends with six-times gold medalist Sir Chris Hoy, who can give
her some handy tips for the 450k trek.
'I'm definitely going to get Chris to help me out and recommended what the right gear is – like what shorts to wear,' she says.
Rebecca is now having a complete break from swimming and doesn't plan to get back in the pool for months.
'I know alot of people are experiencing post-Olympic blues, but for me it's just so nice to have some down time!' she said.
But first she'll have to rid herself of a nasty cold virus.
'My body is so used to the training it didn't know what to do when I relaxed,' she said.
Despite enjoying being 'looked after
very well' in London, the world-class athlete is looking forward to
going home to her own bed in Mansfield. She will also be going to the
hen do of her friend and outdoor swimming champ Keri-Anne Payne.
'Her sisters are organising it all, so even I don't know what we'll be doing,' she said.
Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington swims to Bronze in the 400m freestyle at the Aquatics Centre, London. She also won Bronze in the 200m
Her advice to those mourning the end of the games is to get active – though perhaps avoid the six-days-a-week regime she is used to.
'You can start off small, just get outside and go for a walk – after all it is technically still summer,' she said.
'I like to go and walk my dog, but you could go and play tennis with a friend. If you really don't want to exercise outside their are plenty of good fitness DVDs.'
Come the autumn Miss Adlington sadly won't be waltzing around the BBC studios in Strictly Come Dancing as she'll be in Africa. But how about Dancing on Ice, which starts in the New Year
'Oh no!' she responds quickly.
'I'd be awful at that. I really have no sense of balance.'
So there is the odd thing this Olympian can't do – I feel slightly relieved.
Rebecca Adlington is working with Speedo on a number of grass roots swimming events such as Swimathon and the Speedo Open Water Swim Series which are aimed at encouraging people to take the plunge and get into the water. For further details: www.speedo.co.uk