Grassroots to Glory - Lauren Price
Price said: “They’ve always supported me in every single way. My nan always used to say to me ‘reach for the moon, if you fall short, you’ll land on the stars. And that’s something that’s always stuck with me.” Linda has not been able to come to many of Price’s events recently—not since Derek was diagnosed with dementia.
She said: “I couldn’t leave him. Because dementia is a terrible illness. Sometimes he could not remember, he would call [Lauren] by one of her uncle’s names, and she would get upset. But deep down you could see that twinkle in his eye when she walked through the door, as if to say, well, I know who you are.”
Derek passed away in November 2020, the year Price’s first chance to qualify for her Olympic dream was postponed by the pandemic. Price secured her ticket to Tokyo in June 2021, topping the podium at the European qualifier without her biggest fan. “Derek would be absolutely ecstatic,” affirmed Linda. “He would be ten feet tall, and he would be the proudest man in the valley.”
There is a card Price will keep on her bedside in Japan. Linda gave it to her before the cancelled qualifier, and the superstitious southpaw did not open it until the second. The stoic boxer cried when she read the signature: “’From Nan and Grandad.’” Price said: “Obviously he’s passed now, but it was just kind of, the words inside just to believe in myself over the years, you’ve dreamt of this journey, and go and achieve it. “I made history in November by becoming the first amateur world champion, that was a very proud moment for me as well, but to be the first female to represent Wales at boxing in the Olympic Games is another one I can add to my list for making history. “Just putting on, whether it is the Welsh vest or the GB vest, the hairs on my arm stand up. It gives me goosebumps.” No noggins will need bleaching this time round, but Price might want to hang onto that Sharpie—for autographs.