Former World Cup alpine ski racer Chemmy Alcott says her late mother, Eve, was the “driving force” behind her success.
Chemmy, 36, competed in four Winter Olympics and was overall Senior British National Champion seven times before she retired from international competition after the 2014 season.
She says her mother helped her to justify her ambitiousness throughout her career and early training.
“My mum had a very interesting background – she was a massive feminist and did a degree in women’s politics,” she told Kate of her mother.
A former competitive swimmer, Eve was forced to put her own Olympics aspirations on hold due to injury – but continued to support her daughter through her career.
“She was the driving force for me,” says Chemmy. “She was always there to build me up and keep me on track.”
“She taught me it was if I worked hard, and I was ruthless in my obsession to win,” she adds.
Chemmy goes on to explain how she used to blame her “pushy mum” for her own ruthless ambition.
For example, when she insisted on wearing professional-looking Lycra clothing to attend dry slopes around the UK – while everyone else wore baggy trousers – she would say it was Eve who “made her”.
“It was a lie, she says. “I got up wearing that Lycra because I wanted to win. I wanted to do everything to get that hundredth of a second, but I knew, as a young girl, to look like I wanted to win that much would be unattractive.”
But it was only when her mother passed away that Chemmy realised just how much she had used her mother as an excuse for her own ambitions throughout her life.
“When she passed away […] I took time off because I wanted to decide – a lot of people said I only skied because of her, because I let her take all this pressure, and be the driving force behind my career.
“I let her be the pushy mum. I was easier for me to be popular if I said it’s all because of my mum. And she took that my whole life.
“When she died, I thought maybe I skied for her. And it took two days […] and i realised: ‘I bloody love skiing, it’s all for me. And all she did was to support me.”