By lululemon Editors
4-time Paralympic Champion. World-record holder in cycling and athletics. An MBE for services to sport. Two university degrees. And founder of the KC Academy, a new project striving to bring diversity to elite cycling. Oh, and she just won Celebrity Masterchef, too. Someone tell us, is there anything Kadeena Cox can’t do?
The lululemon ambassador may have risen to national hero status with her incredible success at Tokyo and Rio, but beyond the world of sport, there are hidden depths to Kadeena. Having suffered from a stroke at the age of 23, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease affecting the nervous system. Despite these challenges, Kadeena was determined to prove everyone wrong. To get up, push forwards, and show the world what she was capable of.
Her ambitions show no signs of slowing down. She continues to inspire, hurdle adversity, and provide opportunities for diverse ethnic communities that she was never afforded as a young athlete.
We caught up with her after the Games to find out how she got into sport, the importance of goal setting, and how she keeps that killer motivation of hers so high.
I've always been a runner, I started athletics at school and really got into it in my early teens. And cycling, I only started because I couldn't run when I first got ill. My balance was off so I started training on a Watt bike and my coach noticed I had some decent power, so he spoke with British Cycling and the rest is history really! So yeah, I sort of fell into it.
Totally free. For me, my saving grace when I got ill was the ability to do sport, and try to get back into it. It's that freedom, it's that control. Whenever I'm stressed I'll go for a ride or a run. That's always been my happy place.
Trying to empower other people to get up and overcome adversity. It's about making people realise that regardless of health conditions and life challenges—it's never the end of the road. You can still always crack on. I'm not saying turn into an elite athlete like me, it can be as simple as getting up and going to the shop, going for a little walk, taking yourself to a yoga class, or playing football with your kids.
Sometimes, the mental challenge is so much harder than the physical one. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you're not mentally tough—it means nothing. You can lose yourself so easily. For me, it's about trusting the process and knowing that if I win, that's amazing. And if I lose? I still win.
It's tough, but always having that goal of inspiring the next generation really helps me to push through. I think about who’s role model I am, who’s looking up to me, who’s seeing what I've done. I want people to think “you know what, I’m not going to give up because Kadeena didn't give up”.
I love walking my dog, going exploring and really taking in nature. And when I’m not training, I’m at church or baking at home. Baking's my thing. Nothing beats my Biscoff and white chocolate chip cookies.
Goal setting is so important for keeping me on track and focused. The only thing that kept me going when I was ill was the target of what I was doing next. I went from being a super fit 23-year-old, doing 10 sessions a week, to being completely bed bound. So I'd set myself goals, like trying to go down the stairs, or walking to the end of the street. And eventually that turned into running. Because of that, I'm now able to do what I’m doing now, and have goals I want to achieve as an athlete. So yeah, goal setting is hugely important for keeping me on track and mentally focused.