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Team GB Olympic stars in emotional tributes to loved ones who led them to Tokyo

Team GB’s Olympic stars paid emotional tributes yesterday to the loved ones who helped them on the road to Tokyo.

Parents, partners and children have driven on and inspired the athletes as they chased their dreams of glory through lockdown.

But those hopes could be ­shattered after games chief Toshiro Muto last night refused to rule out cancelling the event due to rising Covid cases.

A US gymnast and a Czech beach volleyball player are among those to test positive, taking the total to 71.

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Team GB Olympic stars in emotional tributes to loved ones who led them to Tokyo

Rugby player Dan Bibby is one UK athlete who has benefited from family support.

The 30-year-old told how psychologist wife Katie, 32, went out to work while he trained alone in their garage after losing elite funding.

Dan, of Chorley, Lancs, said: “Without her, I would not be able to follow my dream.”

Max Whitlock with daughter Willow on Father's Day
Max Whitlock with daughter Willow on Father’s Day

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Gymnast Joe Fraser told how ­dustcart driver dad Adrian gets up every day at 4.30am, but still supported him as a child.

The 22-year-old world champion said: “He is always doing everything he can to support me, especially in my dream of going to the Olympics.”

Joe had to do routines on a mini pommel horse in his parents’ bedroom at their Birmingham home.

Rugby player Dan Bibby praised his wife's help
Rugby player Dan Bibby praised his wife’s help

Taekwondo hope Mahama Cho wants to win gold for his dad Zakaia and partner Samantha Douglas.

The 31-year-old, who was bullied when he came to the UK from Ivory Coast as a child, gave up a promising career in football for taekwondo.

He said: “I was a semi-professional player but I knew what sport I was going to pursue.

File photo dated 22-06-2016 of Mahama Cho during the team announcement at the National Taekwondo Centre, Manchester
Mahama Cho is a martial arts star

“I gave up the Bentleys and the money and the footballers’ lifestyle.

“I chose taekwondo.”

Samantha, who works for UK athletes sponsor Simon Jersey, added: “It will be a proud moment to see Cho and Team GB in suits designed by my colleagues.”

Joe Fraser of Great Britain poses for a photo to mark the official announcement of the men's artistic gymnastics team selected to Team GB for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Lilleshall National Sports Centre on May 24, 2021 in Newport, Shropshire
Gymnast Joe Fraser thanked his dad

Olympic champion gymnast Max Whitlock, 28, calls his two-year-old daughter Willow every day.

He hopes he can take her to the Paris games in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.

Max said: “Willow loves my medals from Rio and I would love to add another one to my collection.”

Great Britain's Max Whitlock celebrates winning a gold medal following victory on the floor apparatus on the ninth day of the Rio Olympic Games
Great Britain’s Max Whitlock celebrates winning a gold medal following victory on the floor apparatus on the ninth day of the Rio Olympic Games

Team GB rugby sevens star Abbie Brown, 25, of Exeter, said she owes parents Julie and David “everything”.

Abbie, who will compete alongside Celia Quansah and Jasmine Joyce, added: “I moved in with them during lockdown, they were so supportive.

“They are my rocks.”



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