Road to Rio: Ashley McKenzie, flight GB2014 to BR2016

On our route to Rio, we have visited the host city of the last Olympic Games, London. European Bronze medalist 2013 and 2012 UK Celebrity Big Brother finalist is ready to take on the route to the 2016 Olympic Games.
One nice guy with two identities? Ashley McKenzie gave us a short insight view of how he copes with his celebrity life while pursuing his dream on the way to the Rio Olympics. By Szandra Szögedi Ashley began his judo career after one of his mate (who was doing judo at that time) throw him with an 'osoto-gari' on the playground, which caught Ashley's attention and quickly search for the nearest dojo to learn the same tricks. Those tricks are now his weapons on the tournaments. Throughout the years, besides becoming an Olympian, Ashley managed to take a spot on the podium at the continental championships. 2005 Cadet Europeans Bronze, 2007 Junior Europeans Bronze and now 2013 Senior European Bronze is also part of his collection. Ashley's first Olympic Games happened to be front of the home crowed: It was absolutely amazing and a really important experience for me in my judo career preparing me for what is still to hopefully come, competing on the highest stage with a lot of pressure on my shoulders... It was a brilliant opportunity and every sportsman's dream to compete for your country at the Olympics. Being on home soil made it all the more special for me as I knew I was going to have great support from the crowd no matter what the outcome - he recalls his memories of the London 2012 Games. Once the 2012 Games were over, the U23 EC moved out of the village and moved into one of the most popular british live show, The Celebrity Big Brother house. Ashley explains the personal experience he gained from being part of the show: The show enabled me to mix with people from backgrounds that I would never normally have encountered in my day-to-day life. It gave me a chance to find out what people thought about me positive and negative which can be more useful in order to enable changes. Elite athletes will always strive for winning in every part of their life, however, for Ashley the show was more of the matter of a new experience than the victory itself. Ashley: I knew I was never going to win Big-Brother as I was the only unknown housemate with the smallest following prior to entering the house but to me just going in there I felt like I had already won and it was only the other housemates who were repeatedly telling me that I was going to win. You were known to be an Olympian, yet now you can call yourself a celebrity. What's the difference between of the two lifestyle? A: The celebrity lifestyle is fun and gives me a chance to every so often attend events and photo shoots which enable me to switch off from judo and training temporarily. A lot more people approach me now and I guess the main difference is that judo is my job and my life and celebrity is just a bit of a hobby. Being an Olympian already brings a level of attention from the media, however as a celebrity it must have at least doubled the attention you receiving. How do you handle the celebrity part of the media coverage? Does it disturbs your judo career? Luckily I have good people around me who keep me grounded. We have utilised the attention that I receive by creating a clothing line (www.ashleymckenzie.co.uk) and if anything this enhances my judo career as it gives me something professional to focus on outside of training and competing. Secondly it enables me to visit different junior judo tournaments up and down the country where I sell my clothing which I love, but the kids love it too as I make sure I meet as many of the younger judo competitors as I can and I always hand out the medals too. Ashley has over 30,000 followers on twitter @Ashleymckenzi12. Do you feel pressure to perform due to the high number of fans who are following your progress? Ever since I was really young I have been very competitive and have always wanted to win for myself and to make my family proud so I don't feel any extra pressure now. Now, with the your high reputation, you can perhaps consider yourself as a semi Briton. Which one is easier, to be an athlete or a celebrity? Being a celebrity is easier as anybody can be a celebrity regardless of talent. Being an athlete is much harder as you cannot fake it you have to have talent and train hard. Back on the mat...2013: how would you describe the year just passed by? 2013 was the best year of my judo career to date. I was the only Team GB competitor to win a European medal and all my results were improved from the European Cups to the Grand Slams eg. Bronze in Miami The Rio Olympic qualification is soon to begin and Ashley is currently sitting as Nb 13 on the world ranking list and he is preparing for the next two years by training hard and sticking to all of his goals. What's your target for 2014? My targets for 2014 are to win another European championships medal and a Commonwealth one too. Ashley believes that priorities of focus and determination needs in order to became an Olympic medalist. So what does he need to focus on the most to make it in Rio? Ashley: I just need to keep up the hard work and stay free from injury and then I should hopefully qualify. The Briton's three wishes: To qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, good health me and for my family and I and that's all I need in life I don't need a 3rd. Have a look at Ashley's website address http://www.ashleymckenzie.co.uk/ Follow him on twitter: http://twitter.com/Ashleymckenzi12

Eventos


Noticias

Road to Rio: David Larose, flight FR2014 to BR2016

18.01.2014 | 17:13 | in
Road to Rio: David Larose, flight FR2014 to BR2016 By Szandra Szögedi The 28 years old french athlete has been involved in the judo business for quiet a time now David Larose : I started judo at the age of 9 and the reason was very simple, because, where I was at the time, I needed to do... Seguir leyendo

Road to Rio: Miklos Ungvari, Flight: HU2014 - BR2016

06.01.2014 | 15:06 | in
Road to Rio: Miklos Ungvari, Flight: HU2014 - BR2016 by Szandra Szögedi I arrived front of a gate with the Olympic Rings on it...Yes, you would think you got lost too, but not at all... It looked like the front of any Olympic office or anything like that. It was a front gate of the house of a... Seguir leyendo

Riner collects European titles as well, third gold for Teddy

27.04.2013 | 18:16 | in
Riner collects European titles as well, third gold for Teddy The two strongest European fighters of this year were the opponents in the final. Adam Okruashvili had to fight super star Teddy Riner. Okroashvili faced the reality many judoka are facing when fighting Teddy Riner. They can’t get too close and... Seguir leyendo

Lucija Polavder offers Slovenia second gold medal

27.04.2013 | 18:15 | in
Lucija Polavder offers Slovenia second gold medal Slovenia has an amazing Championships. Also in the heavyweight category they took the gold medal. Lucija Polavder regained the European title that she won also in 2010. Last year she lost the final against Ivaschenko, this year Emilie Andeol was... Seguir leyendo

Lukas Krpalek claims first ever Czech European title

27.04.2013 | 18:15 | in
Lukas Krpalek claims first ever Czech European title Lukas Krpalek has won the first ever gold medal for his country Czech Republic. It was the dream final with the two highest seeded fighters and the top in Europe: Lukas Krpalek had to face Henk Grol. The Dutchman is the nemesis of the strong... Seguir leyendo

Louette crowns great year with European title

27.04.2013 | 18:05 | in
Louette crowns great year with European title Lucie Louette crowned her beautiful year with the European title. In the final she was able to defeat Ana Velensek of Slovenia who claimed the third medal for Slovenia at the adidas European Championships. Both fighters knew eachother well and... Seguir leyendo

Denisov shows he win finals and takes European gold medal

27.04.2013 | 18:04 | in
Denisov shows he win finals and takes European gold medal Kirill Denisov has won the first European title in his career. The Russian would almost get used to a second place after being ranked second at the Europeans in 2011 and becoming vice world champion in 2011. But Denisov didn’t let go his... Seguir leyendo

Biggest upset: Iliadis with empty hands at European Championships

27.04.2013 | 15:05 | in
Biggest upset: Iliadis with empty hands at European Championships The biggest upset in the morning session at the 2013 adidas European Judo Championships in Budapest on Saturday was undoubtedly Ilias Iliadis’ unexpected loss to Estonian Aleksander Marmeljuk in the round of 16. Other favorites in the weight... Seguir leyendo

All medallists reactions of day 2

26.04.2013 | 23:41 | in
All medallists reactions of day 2 After the finals of the second day of the European Championships the EJU team has spoken to all medallist and asked for their first reactions. women's U63kg Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA), gold: I only can be pleased after such a day. Last... Seguir leyendo

Georgia captures third gold medal for men in Budapest

26.04.2013 | 18:32 | in
Georgia captures third gold medal for men in Budapest Georgia added a third gold medal in the men’s category at this adidas European Championship. The gold medal U81kg was for Avtandil Tchrikishvili. In an exciting final the Georgian defeated Croatian Tomislav Marijanovic. Not that the quality was... Seguir leyendo

Dutch European final U70kg won by Kim Polling

26.04.2013 | 18:32 | in
The final U70kg was won by the amazing strong Kim Polling of the Netherlands. Polling scored the first yuko of the match after 100 seconds, although Bolder had a good and offensive start. Despite Polling’s form of this year everyone... Seguir leyendo

Rok Draksic claims first make European title for Slovenia

26.04.2013 | 18:29 | in
Rok Draksic claims first make European title for Slovenia Rok Draksic has got his first European title and most important victory in his career. The Slovenian is the first man for his country to take the European title. Previously only three women won the European title (Sraka, Zolnir, Polavder). In... Seguir leyendo

Agbegnenou adds European title to successful 2013

26.04.2013 | 18:27 | in
Agbegnenou adds European title to successful 2013 The first gold medal of the second day of the European Championships is for France. Clarisse Agbegenou needed less than a minute to defeat her Russian opponent Marta Labazina. The 20-year old Agbegnenou was the favourite and highest ranked... Seguir leyendo

Surprising start of second day of adidas European Championships

26.04.2013 | 15:09 | in
The 2013 adidas European Judo Championships in Budapest, Hungary, continued Friday with some surprises in the Preliminary Rounds of the men’s -73kg and -81kg as well as the women’s -63kg and -70kg. In the women’s -63kg, top-seed Clarisse... Seguir leyendo

Georgians take two calculated gold medals in Budapest

26.04.2013 | 02:39 | in
Georgians take two calculated gold medals in Budapest For Georgia it was a great start of the adidas European Championships. Georgia continues the success of last year but now already with two gold medals at the first day. The new president David Kevkishvili was not surprised and already announced... Seguir leyendo

Eva Csernovicki: the crowd support helped me today

26.04.2013 | 02:22 | in
Eva Csernovicki: the crowd support helped me today Eva Csernovicki gave the Hungarian team and organisation a great boost with her European title. She defeated Charline van Snick in the final and we spoke to her after her final. Eva Csernoviczki (HUN): "This is my sixth medal and finally it is... Seguir leyendo

Lasha Shavdatuashvili claims second gold medal for Georgia

25.04.2013 | 18:39 | in
Lasha Shavdatuashvili claims second gold medal for Georgia Olympic Champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili claimed the European title this time. Last year he warmed up for the Olympic Games with a bronze medal, not bad for a junior, but this year more was expected. Only  the gold counted for the Georgian of 21... Seguir leyendo

Natalia Kuzyutina regains the European title in Budapest

25.04.2013 | 18:36 | in
Natalia Kuzyutina regains the European title in Budapest The final U52kg was won by Natalia Kuzyutina from Russia. She is still going strong and claimed her third European title. Last year in Chelyabinsk she lost the final against Andreea Chitu but came back strongly in today’s final against the same... Seguir leyendo

Amiran Papinashvili gives Georgia first golden boost

25.04.2013 | 18:27 | in
Amiran Papinashvili gives Georgia first golden boost Amiran Papinashvili took the European title in the men’s U60kg. In the final he was able to defeat Ludovic Chammartin, the surprising finalist from Switzerland. Papinashvili was the favourite in advance as highest ranked judoka at the IJF... Seguir leyendo

Eva Csernoviczki gives boost to Hungarian success with European title

25.04.2013 | 18:14 | in
Eva Csernoviczki gives boost to Hungarian success with European title Finally she made it! Eva Csernoviczki takes the gold medal at the adidas European Championships. After three lost medals and the bronze last year, Csernoviczki confirmed her reputation as Olympic bronze medallist by winning the European title at... Seguir leyendo