Wales’ golden girl Lauren Price crowned Olympian of the Year
27th October 2021
Wales’ gold medal Olympic boxing champion, Lauren Price, has today added yet another accolade to her name after being crowned Olympian of the Year in the 2021 National Lottery Awards.
Following her exploits in Tokyo, Lauren Price, 27, returned to Pontypool Amateur Boxing Club today (Tuesday October 26th) where her amazing trajectory towards Olympic stardom began. She was presented with the inaugural Olympian of the Year National Lottery Award by her grandmother, Linda Price – who Lauren hails (along with her late grandfather Derek Price) as one of the biggest inspirations, influences, and supporters in her successful sporting career.
The National Lottery Awards celebrate the inspirational people and organisations across the UK who have done extraordinary things with National Lottery funding. Following this year’s Tokyo games, it was decided to dedicate the Olympian of the Year Award to an athlete who has gone above and beyond in their field and who have also benefited directly from National Lottery funding. Lauren was voted by the public as their National Lottery Olympian of the Year from a shortlist of athletes from across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Lauren, from Ystrad Mynach, near Caerphilly, is among more than 1,000 elite athletes funded by The National Lottery through UK Sport’s World Class Programme. The programme allows athletes such as Lauren to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.
Few Team GB athletes will be more multi-talented across different sports than Olympic champion Lauren - and her route to glory is wide-ranging to say the least.
She showed a keen interest in several sports from a young age, most notably football, netball, taekwondo and kickboxing – winning European and British honours in kickboxing. She was scouted and subsequently played football for Cardiff City for several seasons, winning the Welsh Premier Women’s League in her first season. Price also captained her country at under-19 level, before being capped at senior level in June 2012.
But boxer Nicola Adams' (another former National Lottery funded athlete) gold medal win in the London 2012 Olympics inspired her to pursue her boxing and, in 2014, she left football to concentrate solely on the ring.
After picking up gold medals in the middleweight class at both the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the 2019 European Games and the 2019 World Championships, her decision to make the switch paid off with a place at Tokyo 2020. Her hunt for gold was not over yet, as she became the Olympic champion in Tokyo after defeating China's Qian Li in the women's middleweight final in her first ever Olympics.
Lauren, who became Wales' first female boxer to compete at the Olympics, was raised by her grandparents Derek and Linda who took her in at three days old. They provided her with the love and foundation that allowed her to thrive – they encouraged her love of sport and without them, Price believes she wouldn’t be where she is today. Last year her grandad, Derek, sadly passed away from Dementia before he could see her secure Olympic gold.
Delighted to receive the award from her Nan, Lauren dedicated her latest accolade to her grandparents whom she hails as her biggest supporters along her journey to Olympic stardom. She also thanked The National Lottery’ players for supporting her as an athlete.
“I don’t know where I would have been without the support of my grandparents, said Lauren.
“Everything I’ve achieved, I dedicate to them for all the support they have given me and I’m delighted my Nan is here to present me with this award today.”
“I am absolutely honoured and thrilled to be announced as the first ever recipient of the Olympian of the Year Award and I would like to thank all the members of the public who voted for me. A lot of what I have achieved is thanks to The National Lottery for supporting me as an athlete. The funding has allowed me to focus on what I love doing and to reach my full potential. The National Lottery has supported thousands of athletes like me throughout our careers and the funding allows us to compete and train full time and access world-class facilities and training programmes.”
Presenting Lauren with her Award, her grandmother, Linda Price, said: “I’m over the moon for her. She’s worked so hard all these years and deserves all the recognition that comes her way. I feel honoured and proud to present her with this award. I always told her to work hard and believe in herself. ‘Reach for the moon and if you fall short, you'll land on the stars', is what I always told her. It’s been a dream of hers since she was a young girl to win the Olympics and, after all the years of hard work, she’s finally achieved it. Her grandfather would be immensely proud of her. He was such a big part of her life and supported her in everything she did. We always knew she was going to succeed, no matter what she put her mind to.”
Since National Lottery funding started in 1997, Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes have won 929 Olympic and Paralympic medals.