Rio 2016: Pride, inspiration and love - mums write to GB's Gemili, Asher-Smith and Lake

Dina Asher-Smith
Dina Asher-Smith, aged 11, in her Blackheath and Bromley race vest

What if your son or daughter, brother or sister, had played out their childhood dreams on the greatest sporting stages of them all? How would you feel?

Here, the parents of Adam Gemili, Dina Asher-Smith and Morgan Lake write letters to their children to tell them of their pride at watching them compete in Rio.

Dina Asher-Smith

Dina Asher-Smith was part of Britain's women's sprint relay team which won bronze, Britain's first medal in the event since 1984. In the 200m final, at her first Olympics, the 20-year-old came fifth.

Dina Asher-Smith with her sprint relay team-mates
Dina Asher-Smith (centre right) celebrates winning sprint relay bronze with her team-mates

Dear Dina,

The photo on the kitchen noticeboard says it all, taken that first day in April 2007 when you pulled on a Blackheath and Bromley race vest. You complained, did not want a fuss, and growled at me. Click! Then off we went to your first race. It was fun.

I fussed about your food and whether you had enough to drink. I put the spikes on your shoes and made sure your number race bib was on straight. I beamed with pride as you stepped on to the track and shouted the loudest from the sidelines.

Dina Asher-Smith with her mum
Dina Asher-Smith with her mum, Julie

It has been much the same ever since then. You still growl when I take a photo, I still fuss about your food, drink, spikes and now your passport and, yes, I know you are 20. However, every time you go off to a race you are still that little girl to me.

Did we imagine, or even hope, you'd become an Olympian? No way! It is fun. I am very proud of the young woman you've become. Beautiful, bold and balanced. Your dad and I find it hard to contain our delight.

Love, as always, Mum.

Adam Gemili

Adam Gemili was Team GB's athletics captain and finished fourth in the 200m final - denied a bronze medal in a photo finish. In the sprint relay, the 22-year-old and his team-mates came fifth in the final.

Rio 2016: Bolt wins 200m
Christophe Lemaitre, second from bottom in lane seven, took bronze in the men's 200m ahead of Gemili

My darling Adam,

You amaze me! You are truly an inspiration and I say this knowing how hard you've had to work to get to where you are today.

After all of the obstacles you have had to overcome, not just the horrific injury you sustained just last year, I'm astounded by you and am sure that if people knew what you have had to deal with, like me, they would be too.

You are the most determined and mentally strong young man I have ever come across. Forever humble and incredibly grounded, I am so privileged to be a part of your life.

Adam Gemili
Adam Gemili with his mother, Sacha, and his father

I've always called you and your sister my hero and heroine and it's true, you really are. I'm your mother, but it is you who has taught me so much.

You are always so dignified, no matter what the occasion. You have such genuine respect for every single person. Your sincere love of athletics is reflected in your smile - you are always smiling!

Your smile makes me happy because I know you're happy.

Adam Gemili with his dad, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Nick Bright
Gemili enjoying a football match with GB team-mate Katarina Johnson-Thompson, her boyfriend Nick Bright and his dad

You involve yourself in athletics for the right reasons - it is just a sport that you love and enjoy doing. Of course, I know you want to win but I really love how you are genuinely happy for other people's success, and how you've said to me on many occasions - I want kids to get into athletics, to go to their local track and enjoy it and not feel pressured to be number one.

How many times have I watched you inspire so many people, kids and adults alike, showing that athletics isn't just about those at the start line of the Olympics Games? It is, and should always be, about encouraging people to have fun, making friends and realising that every time they compete as a team they should feel proud.

I love how you always recognise and appreciate that if it wasn't for the volunteers we'd have no idea where athletics, or any other sport, would be so I too want to thank you for teaching me and helping me to appreciate athletics for what it is, simply a sport that you have to enjoy and smile about.

I'm so proud of you. I love you.

Huge hug and kiss,


Morgan Lake

Letter to Morgan Lake
Sara Lake's letter to her daughter Morgan

Teenager Morgan Lake, a heptathlete by trade, equalled her personal best of 1.94m in the high jump to qualify for the final. The 19-year-old went on to finish 10th, clearing 1.93m.

Dear Morgan,

Wow, wow, wow! I'm so incredibly proud of you and everything you have achieved in your life so far.

I am bursting with pride and get butterflies just imagining you competing in front of the crowds of sports fans in Rio, and across the world.

Morgan Lake as a child
Lake is the 2014 world junior heptathlon champion

I can remember your first English Schools Championships, we were all so excited. Your Dad and I couldn't eat the night before as we were so nervous. I'm glad we've all had so many more opportunities since that weekend to learn how to deal with the pressure.

As a small child you and your brother were always very competitive. Weekends were spent frantically trying to get you both to your different sporting activities. You excelled at everything, but athletics was always your passion.

You have been so incredibly privileged to have so many influential people in your life. I know they have inspired and encouraged you to fulfil your dreams.

Morgan Lake with her mum Sara
Morgan with her mum, Sara

If you can dream it, you can achieve it! I'm sure you have and will continue to inspire others on your life's journey too.

It's incredibly hard to appreciate everything you are experiencing, please try and live in the moment and enjoy this most amazing time in your life. Your world is fantastic, you've created it.

I feel so privileged to be the mother of such a kind, thoughtful, beautiful and incredibly talented daughter.

Thank you, Morgan.

Love you to the moon and back.

Mum xxxx

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson's mum writes her a letter in Rio

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