December 12 - Double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington insists she still has doubts about making it to the London 2012 Olympic Games, despite being considered one of Britain's leading medal prospects.
The Mansfield-born swimmer was one of Britain's top performers in Beijing in 2008 where she claimed gold in the 400 and 800 metres, and will lead a strong swimming team next year including the 10k open water world champion, Keri Anne-Payne, in London if she qualifies at the British Swimming Championships in March, which doubles as an Olympics test event.
Adlington is currently training for the event in March, and when asked by insidethegames if she was confident that she would do enough there to qualify, she responded by saying: "Not at all - it's very nerve wracking and the trials will be as hard if not harder than the Olympics.
"It's going to be extremely difficult to qualify and I just hope to God I do."
She added that she would feel different qualifying for a home Olympics compared to the trials for the Beijing Games in 2008.
"It'll be a bit different as you are going for a home Olympics...it'll be so devastating if you don't make it but also so pleasurable and amazing if you do.
"Everyone is hoping they do make it and qualify and achieve that."
The 22-year-old is refreshingly modest for an Olympic and world champion, but one man in no illusions about her talent is her coach, Bill Furness, who has said that she is: "The most impressive swimmer Britain has ever produced by a long way."
"It's one of those things it's amazing to hear," says Adlington when reminded of the quote.
"It's amazing if he said that and very nice to say that as well – you don't really go up to someone on a daily basis and say nice stuff like that so it's a nice thing to hear.
"It's something you never get used to hearing.
"I always think when someone says it 'that's not true' but that's very nice to hear and especially [from] someone like Bill who I work with and sees all the work I put in.
"It's one of those things I'll never get used to hearing or believe because I'm the one doing it and you never think that about yourself."
Adlington is part of Cadbury's athlete ambassador teams for London 2012, and she is currently promoting their 'Keep Team GB Pumped' campaign, designed to keep the nation singing in the build-up to the Games and support Team GB.
"I think it's a brilliant idea," Adlington says.
"It's nice to do something for the athletes for our motivation to keep us going.
"Songs are such a good way to key in motivation and get you pumped.
"Loads of people walk out to music, it is great that they are doing something for athletes that is enjoyable as well."
The freestyle swimmer is into her music, and admits that she is currently "hooked on Beyoncé and Rihanna".
Away from music, she has recently promoted Speedo's new swimsuit with their Fastskin3 swimwear system, which improves oxygen economy whilst reducing drag, and Adlington cannot wait to try it out.
"I think it's a great suit – I absolutely love the suit they have brought out, and the hat and goggles.
"The suit as an individual piece is very comfortable – on the shoulders it feels absolutely great.
"I haven't had a chance to race in it yet but I can't wait to feel how it is in a fast environment."
Having won the 800m freestyle race at the World Championships in Shanghai last July, as well as coming second in the 400m, Adlington was a surprise omission from the final 10 nominees for this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
The absence of any women, including four-time ironman world champion Chrissie Wellington and Adlington's close friend Keri Anne-Payne, who won the 10k open water race in Shanghai and became the first athlete to qualify for London 2012 in the process, has courted much controversy.
When the final ten was announced, Adlington expressed her dismay on Twitter that Payne was not on the list, and though she says those who did make it were all top quality athletes, she told insidethegames that if she could have nominated one woman for the list, it would have been the South African-born swimmer.
"I'm going to be biased as she is my best friend but I'd definitely put Keri-Anne," said Adlington.
"Chrissie is amazing obviously but I see all the hard work [Payne] puts in and to be the first to qualify for the Games is an amazing achievement...and to be world champion too is fantastic."
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