Sarah Stevenson is the most successful taekwondo athlete in British history. She became Britain’s first ever world champion in 2001 and won the nation’s maiden taekwondo Olympic medal in 2008.
Stevenson had already competed at Sydney 2000, finishing fourth, and Athens 2004, ending 11th, before travelling to Beijing, where she almost didn’t climb the podium at all.
She was initially eliminated during the quarter-finals after the referee failed to recognise clear points scored. The decision was overturned but she suffered an ankle injury in the semi-final and lost.
Stevenson battled on to win bronze and took her second senior world title in May 2011. She is also a four-time European champion and was awarded an MBE in the 2012 New Year Honours List.
Her participation in London was thrown into doubt after she suffered a serious cruciate ligament injury, which required surgery, at a training camp in Mexico in February.
Stevenson has also had to cope with the death of her father Roy to a brain tumour and the death of her mother Diana to cancer in 2011.