“It's been so hard [adapting to being a new mum], but it's been really good."
Elinor Barker is gearing up for a big family Paris party as she aims to emulate her Brazilian bonanza and return to the summit of the podium at her third Olympic Games.
The Cardiff cycling star, 28, gave birth to her first child Nico last year after helping propel Britain to team pursuit silver while pregnant at Tokyo 2020.
Barker grabbed gold in Rio five years earlier and having adapted to life as a new mum, is now ramping up preparations for another Games in the French capital next summer.
Megan, Barker’s younger sister and an elite cyclist too, also has a shot at booking her place on the Paris plane and the five-time world champion admits having multiple family members alongside her would make this Olympics the most special yet.
Barker, who will bid for a 13th World Championship medal in Glasgow next month, said: “There's a chance that me and my sister could be competing together and I think that would be really, really cool.
“And if not both of us, then it'd be really cool to go to my third Olympics.
“I think there's a lot to be excited about there as a family – the chances are that one of us will go but there's a small chance that we'll both go, and I think that's really cool.
“It'll be huge, I think Meg really deserves it.
“She's really tough, she's worked so hard and she has so had so much bad luck.”
Barker added: “In terms of Nico, I haven't really thought that far ahead about logistics of where he would be.
“I imagine that my partner is going to want to go and as many of my family members as I can get will want to go as well so probably [he’ll come], it would be his second Olympics!
“It's been so hard [adapting to being a new mum], but it's been really good.
“Almost every emotion you can name has probably happened in the last year – it’s been really, really beautiful and full of love and terrifying and exhausting, anxiety provoking, and great! It's everything.”
Barker is one of over 1,000 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing her to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering medical support – this is vital for her pathway to the Paris 2024 Games.
But with almost exactly one year to go until her third Games in France, Barker has the small matter of a home World Championships to turn her attention to.
The Welsh star has been front and centre of golden era for British cycling and has racked up a remarkable 25 World and European Championship medals – including 15 golds – since her big stage debut back in 2013.
Barker says she will not be weighed down by external expectation in Scotland and a sixth global triumph can lay the foundations for more glory in Paris next year.
“I think most of the pressure comes internally,” she added.
“And also thinking about the opportunities that you can get from having a really good World Championships – it puts you in good stead for selection from Olympics.
“The pressure comes from looking forward, rather than looking back.
“I'm just going to try being there without placing too much pressure on myself because of previous results.
“I'm just going to be looking forward and thinking about what a result here would mean.”
With the Paris 2024 Olympics only a year away, the Games are set to inspire people and communities all across the country. Barker hopes that by sharing her story it will give others motivation to get involved into sport.
And with The National Lottery’s funding at the heart of British success on the Olympic and Paralympic stage since 1997, Barker is acutely aware of its impact on her own personal level.
She added: “The National Lottery’s support has been huge in allowing me to be an athlete.
“It’s funded me so I don’t have to have a part-time job alongside being an athlete but it also provides access to physiotherapists, nutritionists, gym access, gym coaches and the list is just endless.
“It’s been a key part of my career – the support has meant I’ve always had access to the facilities I’ve needed which is really important, especially when trying to train for an Olympics.
“Without The National Lottery’s support, it would have been a much harder journey.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everybody who plays The National Lottery for helping me and all other National Lottery-funded athletes to achieve our dreams.”
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