Guess what I"m going to be when I grow up! These delightful snaps of some of our Gold medal hopefuls prove they were destined to be champions…

Guess what I'm going to be when I grow up! These delightful snaps of some of our Gold medal hopefuls prove they were destined to be champions



22:00 GMT, 27 July 2012

1 Rebecca Adlington

Double Gold medal-winning swimmer Rebecca found her competitive streak in the pool during family holidays. In this picture, a four-year-old Rebecca, wearing water wings and clinging to a li-lo, was trying to keep up with her older sisters Chloe and Laura. Rebecca, 23, recalls, ‘On holiday the three of us were never out of the pool and I always had to try to keep up with my sisters. Because Chloe was five years older I picked up a lot of speed trying to catch her!’

Rebecca Adlington

Rebecca Adlington

The Double Gold medal winner found her love of swimming on family holidays

2 Jessica Ennis

The dark-haired nine-year-old seen here second from the right, happily throwing a foam javelin at an athletics stadium in Sheffield, is now one of Team GB’s best-known faces. Heptathlete Jessica, now 26, was taken to the two-week summer athletics school at the Don Valley Stadium by mother Alison and father Vinnie. Jessica, who went on to become heptathlon world champion, jokes, ‘I think they wanted me out of the house! It was here that I won my first athletics prize – a pair of trainers.’ Her mother says, ‘We joke now that it was cheap childcare, but Jessica just wanted to win everything then and she’s still the same now. We’re so proud of what she’s achieved.’



Jessica Ennis is now one of Britain's best-known faces

3 Tom Daley

Even as a baby, Tom Daley took to water like a duck. Tom, now 18 and a Gold medal hope in the 10m platform dive, was just 18 months old here, enjoying a bath with his father Rob at home in Plymouth, Devon. Tom says, ‘This is a treasured photo of me and Dad. Mum and Dad were keen for me to be able to handle myself in the water, so I began swimming when I was a toddler. One day when I was seven we went to the Central Park Pool. As I ran out of the changing room, the main pool was in front of me and I was bowled over – the 10m platform got the eyes popping out of my head and I wanted lessons.

‘The day I had my first diving lesson, I saw Dad on the balcony waving down at me and giving me a huge grin and a thumbs-up. He barely missed a session after that. Eventually he gave up his electrician’s business so he could take me to diving competitions all over the world.’

Last year Rob died, aged 40, after a five-year battle with cancer and Tom hopes to win Gold in honour of him.

Tom Daley

 Tom Daley

Last year, Tom's father died of cancer and Tom hopes to win gold for him

4 Sir Chris Hoy

Chris, 36, the boy from Edinburgh who became the first Briton in a century to win three Olympic Golds for track cycling, actually started out as a BMX racer. He was ninth best in the world by the time he was 14. This picture was taken in 1987 when, aged 11, he won his first national title. His mother Carol says, ‘His first ever bike was a girl’s bike given to him by a neighbour. A few years later when he got his first BMX I thought he was going to cry with happiness.’

Chris Hoy cycling..

Chris Hoy

Sir Chris Hoy's first ever bike was a gift from a neighbour

5 Peter Wilson

This four-year-old cowboy, packing a pistol, grew up to become a real crack shot. Farmer’s son Peter Wilson, now 25, is world champion at double-trap shooting and has a good chance of taking Gold for Team GB. A three-year-old Peter was photographed on the family farm near Sherborne, Dorset, dressed up for a birthday party. ‘As a child I wasn’t at all competitive,’ says Peter, ‘but I started to be at 14, once I discovered I was good at clay pigeon shooting.’

 Peter Wilson

 Peter Wilson

The four-year-old cowboy turned out to be quite the shot

6 Zoe Smith

Who would have guessed that the tot playing with a Bullworker in this picture would become Britain’s strongest woman At just 18, Zoe holds the Commonwealth Bronze medal in the 58kg weightlifting division and has broken more than 330 national records. Mother Niki says, ‘This photo was taken in 1995 when Zoe was just 20 months old. Her father used the Bullworker as part of his muscle-toning routine and we just thought it’d be fun to take a photo of her playing with it.’

Zoe Smith

Zoe Smith

Who would have thought that Zoe would become the world's strongest woman

7 Victoria Pendleton

The six-year-old posing with her father’s tandem is now Britain’s best-known woman cyclist – nine-times world champion and winner of Gold in Beijing. Victoria, 31, followed in the tracks of her father Max, a national grass-track cycling champion. Mother Pauline says, ‘Victoria and her brother and sister used to go out cycling with their father and this picture was taken on one of their rides. She got the bug and began racing at about the age of nine. I never realised she had a talent until she started having success.’ Victoria says that when her older sister Nicola and twin brother Alex gave up, she carried on. ‘I think what kept me going was guilt – I didn’t want to leave Dad with no one to go with. Of course it helped that I was quite good at it.’

Victoria Pendleton

Victoria Pendleton

The six-year-old posing with her father's tandem is now Britain's best-known female cyclist

8 Eilish McColgan

With an Olympic Silver medallist and London Marathon winner for a mother, and a top athletics coach for a father, Eilish McColgan was born to be a champion. She’s pictured here in 1991 at the age of one, modelling her mother Liz’s World Championships 10,000m Gold medal, won in Japan that year. Eilish, 21, will represent Great Britain in the 3,000m steeplechase at the London Olympics. But mother-of-five Liz says, ‘I never started her running – it was all down to her. She’s always wanted to do it, it’s just in her. So many parents push their kids into things and they end up not enjoying it. But I never took our children to races with me, it was all very separate. Although Eilish is a very nice girl in real life, when it comes to running she has the killer instinct and she thrives on it.’



With an Olympic medal winner as a mother, it is no surprise that Elish is a star