Wednesday 26 July 2017

Olympic gold medalist used to try to protect her mother from domestic abuse with a plastic sword

Nicola Adams of Great Britain poses with her gold medal during the Team GB flight back from Rio on British Airways flight BA2016 on August 22, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)
Nicola Adams of Great Britain poses with her gold medal during the Team GB flight back from Rio on British Airways flight BA2016 on August 22, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for British Airways)

Nicola Adams has spoken about the difficulties she faced growing up with a "controlling" father and claims she tried to protect her mother from him when they argued.

The double Olympic champion became the first female boxer to win an Olympic title at London 2012 before following that up with a second gold last year in Rio.

That glittering career is a world away from some of the problems she faced in her childhood which she recalls in a new book, Believe, which will be published later this month. The 34-year-old from Leeds, who has now turned professional, saw her parents separate when she was just 11 years old.

In an excerpt from her book quoted by the Guardian, Adams said: "I just wanted to get between them, so I jumped in front of my mum and tried to protect her with a plastic sword. I thought I could keep my dad away. My mum reckons that, even then, I was brave.

"I knew she wasn't happy and that made me unhappy as well. She's such a bubbly, joyful person. I didn't like the way I was seeing her being treated."

When asked by the Guardian if her father Innocent Adams had been abusive towards her as well as her mother Dee, she said: "Yes. Just the odd slap here and there. But I was more concerned about my mum. I tried to fight back, but I was a bit small."

Adams, who won her first professional fight last month with a commanding performance against Virginia Carcamo of Argentina, admitted that although her young life was tough, she was pleased her mother had the strength to make a new start.

She added: "He was just really controlling. My mum wouldn't be allowed to go out with her friends.

"The other person is so controlling that they feel they can't, or they feel they're not mentally strong enough to do things on their own.

"He was huge. He's not big no more, though."

The Guardian spoke to Adams' father for a response to her allegations.

"The allegations made are completely false," he said. "I have never been violent towards my ex-wife or Nicola. This is just a defamation of my good character."

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