My dream came true in Beijing
REBECCA Adlington said Beijing 2008 was the time her life changed forever.
And although it would catapult her into the public eye forever, winning double Olympic gold in China is the highlight of her career.
Adlington was just 19 when she stunned the world with 400m freestyle gold before following it up days later in the 800m freestyle, setting a new world record which still stands today.
And yesterday Adlington relived how that turned her life upside down.
She said: "I always wanted to win an Olympic gold so to win two at the same Games was just unbelievable. I was told it would change your life and I was like 'nah' and then I got back and it all changed."
Adlington arrived back to an open-top bus tour of her home town, with tens of thousands of people lining the streets and the market square.
"Suddenly everybody knew who I was and instead of being the underdog, I was the one everybody wanted to beat," said Adlington, who turns 24 later this month and is also having a party on Saturday to celebrate stepping down. "Everyone wanted to know more about me and it was overwhelming, hard to deal with but I have got used to the spotlight.
"Beijing was the best moment of my career because I never thought that would happen to me and to achieve it was a dream come true."