Rebecca Adlington is a contestant on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity.. Get Me Out Of Here 2013!
Date of birth: 17 February 1989
Missing any special occasions: Thankfully no.
Relationship status: Engaged.
She may be an Olympic Gold medallist but Rebecca Adlington reckons living in the celebrity jungle is going to be one of the toughest challenges of her life.
The 24-year-old -who won two gold medals in the 400m and 800m at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games plus two bronze in London last year – admits she is worried how she will fare coping with lack of food, boredom levels and snakes crawling under her bed, not to mention the dreaded trials.
“This is going to be extremely hard,” she says. “It’s not just one thing. When you watch it on the television and think ‘ah I can do that challenge’, it is actually very tough. People forget it is a package.
“The daunting thing for me is the mixture of everything – you are starving, not sleeping very well and trying to cope with the boredom.
“Normally with an athlete, you can prepare for everything. You can’t control the race but you can train to the best of your ability.
“The jungle is a lot tougher because you have no clue how to handle it and you don’t know who the other people are. Nobody has ever lived in a jungle and done all the trials before and so at least we are on a level playing field in that sense!”
So if she is feeling apprehensive about what life will be like in the jungle, why has she decided to take part in the show?
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she replies. “It’s a chance for me to do something completely different in my life.
“I am also looking forward to being part of a team again. Since I retired, I have missed that team environment and so I am really looking forward to feeling like a big family, enjoying working together and being part of all the banter.
“I see myself as a team player and I think my role in the camp will be to be the little helper. I am happy to pull my weight.”
When Rebecca was training for her Olympic races, eating plenty of food was a big part of her regime. The bubbly British swimmer readily admits she has already started worrying about the lack of food in camp.
“The food is going to be the most difficult thing for me,” says Rebecca. “Eating the same bland food and not having a lot of it will be hard. People will be grumpy and a little bit short when they are hungry.
“My level of tolerance on snakes, spiders and all those animals is the same but I do get claustrophobic, so I’m not looking forward to anything like that!” Smiling, she confides she’d love David Beckham to join her around the campfire to lift everyone’s spirits up. “He is beautiful and he would be someone to stare at, “she adds. “But he’d also have some pretty good stories to share!
“I really want to have some fun in the jungle.
“I am 24 years old but a lot of people see me as older than I actually am.
“As an athlete when you are competing in races, you are in the zone and you are very focused. Even after the race, it’s still serious and so it will be nice for people to get to know me better. People do have a perception that athletes are a bit super human and I am often asked what I eat. But I eat all the normal stuff; watch daytime TV and I am a very family orientated person. I don’t think people realise that sometimes!”
She says she will miss her fiancé, Harry, terribly.
“It’s the longest we have been apart,” she admits. “I have been away in the past for two to three weeks but at least we had Skype. I am also going to miss my two little dogs too!”
Given she has retired from professional swimming, you wonder if Rebecca is keen to move into TV. Whilst she enjoys her television pundit sporting roles, the 24-year-old star says her ambition will always be to encourage children to learn to swim.
“I am setting up my own learn to swim programme and that’s my biggest passion,” she insists.
“It is really important for people to learn.”
As for whether she hopes to strike Gold and be crowned Queen of the Jungle, Rebecca reckons she will be overjoyed if she manages to stay until mid-way through the competition.
“I am not going in the jungle to win it,” she declares. “I will be really pleased if I get half way. That is my target.
“For me, it’s all about people getting to know me better, having some fun and enjoying myself. I never ever expected to be on a celebrity show. It’s going to be lovely getting to know the human, normal side of people and supporting each other as much as we can.
“I just want to try my best.”