We caught up with Olympic bronze medalist (and one-time Celebrity Big Brother housemate) Anthony Ogogo to find out what it was like competing in London and what the boxer plans on doing next…
How does it feel to have bagged an Olympic medal?
At first I was a bit disappointed – I wouldn’t be the same competitor if I was happy to settle for a bronze – but it’s starting to settle. When I got back and saw how proud people are of me and that I’ve brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, particularly in my home town, it makes me feel a lot better about it.
For us couch potatoes, the Olympics felt really special, but from your perspective as a competitor could you feel the enormity of it all?
We didn’t get the newspapers, I didn’t talk to many people – I talked to my girlfriend and that was it, really, and she’s not saying, “You’re in this paper,” so you’re kept away from it. You don’t really know how it’s being perceived on the outside.
It must have been like being back in the Big Brother house…
Exactly! You don’t really know what’s going on and you don’t really know how big it is. It’s not until you go into the venue and you hear that roar and you think, “Something special’s going on, this is amazing.”
Anthony Ogogo lands a big righthander against Stefan Hartel of Germany
You had some major personal trouble going into the Olympics – with your mum’s ill health and your shoulder injury. How much did that affect you?
Well I pulled out. I thought, “How could I go back to Sheffield, where we train, when I want to be with my mum and sisters?” But all the coaches managed me well, they gave me time to digest it and then said, “Look, you’ve always wanted to go to the Olympic Games, your mum wants you to go to the Olympic Games.” So I just thought, “Yeah, I’m going to go, I’m going to give it my best shot,” and that’s what I did.
We’ve heard some stories about the athletes’ village – what was it like in there?
It was amazing, the weirdest environment. One time I was walking towards dinner and there was this massive queue of people. Typical Brit, I went and joined and said to a volunteer, “What’s everyone waiting here for?” And then the Queen arrived, because she wanted to see the village, and everyone went nuts for her. Where can you go for dinner and the Queen decides to pop in? That was brilliant.
Anthony was inspired by the success of fellow Team GB athletes, like Mo Farah
How much strength did you take from the success of Team GB?
Everyone wants each other to do well. I was watching Mo Farah, Jess Ennis and Greg Rutherford win gold medals – I was boxing two days later and had to turn the telly off because I was getting that pumped up!
Why has the GB Boxing Team been so successful?
Well, our coach Rob McCracken has brought over a really professional team and obviously we’ve had lottery funding – that helps – but we’ve got a great team, a great set of coaches and they want us to be better. Getting to the quarter finals isn’t enough – we always want to be involved in the last day of competition and we always are as a nation.
In the past you appeared on Celeb Big Brother – how much does the world of showbiz appeal to you?
I’m a boxer first and foremost, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to explore these other avenues as well because I want to be out of boxing at a relatively good age and I want all my faculties intact. So all these other opportunities, if I think it’s going to be right for me and not to the detriment of my boxing, then yeah, I’ll go for it.
So what are your plans for the future – Rio in four years, perhaps?
I’m not too sure, I’ve thought about boxing for so long now I just want to switch off for a while. What I do know is I want to get to the top – I want to become a world champion, whether that’s at the amateur world championships next year or whether that’s as a professional further down the line.
Anthony Ogogo is represented by Wasserman. Follow him on twitter @AnthonyOgogo
Interview by Luke Cho-Yee