Stevenson focused on success

08 August 2012 / 16:01

Taekwondo coach Steve Jennings will make sure Sarah Stevenson is fully focused to deliver Olympic success this week, but knows his wife will be the one who calls the shots again when they get back home.

Stevenson - a bronze medallist at the Beijing Games after a scoring error was overturned - has certainly been tested during the past 18 months, when she was able to deliver World Championship gold while her parents were battling against terminal illness and then had to overcome a serious knee injury to prove her fitness.

Jennings has shared those trials, both professionally in the gym and personally at home supporting his wife in her quest for Olympic gold.

It is a strong relationship which gets the best out of each other. "The dynamics are really good. In training she respects me as a coach, and she is a world-class athlete so it is a pleasure to work with somebody like that," Jennings said.

"In training and the gym, it is business, then when we go home we try to have a normal life and not talk too much about Taekwondo.

"I am probably the boss in the gym, and she keeps me quiet at home."

Stevenson had the honour of reading the athletes' oath at the opening ceremony, and given all she has gone through, it would certainly be some story were the 29-year-old to claim under-67kgs gold at ExCeL on Friday night.

However, Jennings insists they both know sentiment can play no part in preparations ahead of Olympic competition. "Life has been tough for all of us," he said. "Sarah had an awful year in 2011, and then had an injury this year, but she is immense the way she deals with it all."

Jennings continued: "The amount of times people have said to her: 'surely you have to win Olympic gold now? You have lost both of your parents and had ACL reconstruction. Surely it is your time'.

"That, though, is nonsense really. There are 15 other fighters in that category and nobody else cares about that, they all want a gold, as does Sarah. It would be lovely for it to happen, but she has to work just as hard as everybody else."