My biggest dream in life has always been to compete in the Olympics for Great Britain, and now it's less than 100 days until Rio 2016 and I can't believe it! It's all starting to feel very real for me so I've been reflecting on my journey so far, and I want to start to encourage others to believe that they too can make their dreams a reality.
This is not an easy article to write. Being a native of Brazil myself, I obviously root for the country to get better and stronger. And that's exactly why I can't stay quiet in this crucial moment. I won't mention all the amazingly beautiful nature, the warm and friendly people or the party atmosphere, that's well known. This is about the side you won't see in the Carnival pictures. So here is why you should not go to the Olympics in Rio...
It's been over two years since my last cap, I'm not even in the GB squad any more and I still find it impossible to get my head around Rio being so soon. It kills me feeling like the odd one out in large parts of my friendship group, not having that same daily routine and camaraderie and sense that I'm part of something.
About two years ago I moved into a property buried deep in a London suburb. For reasons that will become clear the location will remain undisclosed, though It is owned by a housing trust and leased out to an agency; who fill it with people like me in order to keep vandals and sex workers from illegally squatting in the empty building. It's a regular fixture in the London living scene (especially for struggling artists) so I won't bore you with the details.
Are you one of the lucky ones who happen to be flying over to Rio to watch the Olympics and Paralympics this summer? But not entirely sure as to how to prepare for it? Well, here are some excellent tips which will help you stay as safe, healthy and street-wise as possible during your time in Brazil!
Despite the problems they face, all the vulnerable children I spoke to at the Street Child Games were looking forward to the Olympic Games in Rio this year. The power of sport to inspire and transform lives is immense - how much better it would be if that was harnessed without any harm being committed at the same time.
When the news came out that I was planning to compete again, nobody could quite believe it. Coaches, gymnasts, judges, you name it - they all said it couldn't be done. And I can understand where they were coming from. I was just 18 when I quit - and here I was, a 31-year-old mum expecting to carry on where I'd left off. It was unheard of.