Lawrence Okolie is dreaming of gold medals and double cheeseburgers as he prepares to get Great Britain’s Olympic boxing challenge under way at Riocentro on Saturday.
Okolie, who faces Poland’s Igor Jakubowski in his opening heavyweight contest, is one of two British boxers to compete on the opening day of competition with Galal Yafai also facing Simplice Fotsala of Cameroon at light-flyweight.
Six years ago such a big stage was not even on the spectrum for Okolie, a self-confessed fast food junkie whose Olympic journey began the day in 2010 when his family doctor declared him clinically obese.
“I felt I needed to go for a normal check-up because I was worried about my weight, and when the doctor said I was actually obese it was a massive wake-up call.
“I weighed 120kg and was working behind the counter at McDonald’s. I would try losing weight by eating salads but the problem was I would always be ordering double cheeseburgers on the side.
“But when I got promoted to the Great Britain elite team things got really serious. I got down to 81kg and instead of cheeseburgers I am now eating dedicated meals which help keep my weigh in check.
“I am looking forward to winning a medal and celebrating with a couple of weeks of having a real enjoyment of food again. If things go the way I hope in Rio then all the salads and weight loss programmes will have proven worthwhile.”