Jamie Cooke has sourced many positives from lockdown but places one above all others – it’s helped him become a domestic god.
The 2018 modern pentathlon world champion has been cracking on with vital housework during the lay-off, renovating his new Bath flat ahead of teammate Myles Pillage moving in when restrictions ease.
Cooke has swapped shooting, show jumping and fencing with building wardrobes, painting and ripping up carpets, getting ahead with domestic jobs he would have usually struggled to juggle around the demands of his hectic training schedule.
And the reigning European champion, who is vying to improve on his 14th-place finish at the Rio Olympic Games in Tokyo next year, has relished the ‘godsend’ of an opportunity to become a king of the home.
“I’ve been incredibly lucky as I’ve only just recently bought a flat, that needed a hell of a lot of work renovating it,” said the 29-year-old, who will be looking to add to the 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals won since National Lottery funding started in 1997.
“Lockdown has been the perfect time to do that – I’ve been painting, decorating and putting up shelves and wardrobes throughout the period.
“It’s about keeping the mind busy and keeping yourself ticking over, and that for me – like I tell all the next generation athletes – is key, in keeping that discipline.
“I’ve probably been causing way too much noise for my neighbours ripping up carpets, taking walls down and putting in a new kitchen!
“But it’s been a real godsend having the time to do this, and it’s actually nearly done so I’m really excited for it.
“I’m really, really pleased with the finished product – I’ve got Myles moving in when lockdown finishes, so I’m really excited and there’s just no chance I’d have had the chance to do this if it wasn’t for lockdown.”
Cooke is one of 1,100 athletes on UK Sport’s World Class Programme, funded by The National Lottery, allowing him to train full-time and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.
Cooke has enjoyed a scintillating rise to the summit with the help of National Lottery’s support, ending a 25-year wait for a male British world champion when he conquered the globe in Mexico in 2018.
European Championship nirvana soon followed, as Cooke built on previous World Cup success by adding a further medal to his bulging collection.
“I’m massively hungry for success in Tokyo – it’s the whole reason I’m doing the sport and continue to train day in, day out,” he said.
“I want to be able to look back on Tokyo, which I've always planned to retire after, and say ‘I did everything I could do to put myself in the best shape possible’.
“I can already look back on my career incredibly proudly but winning in the Olympics is the sole thing we go for.
“If I can go to Tokyo in the best shape I can be and deliver my processes, there’s every reason I should have a good competition.”
No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/stories/track-to-tokyo and #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo