Olympic champion Jade Jones: Anxiety affected Tokyo performance

Jade Jones lost her first fight at the Tokyo Olympics last summer after winning gold in the previous two Games. Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Double Olympic taekwondo champion Jade Jones has said she suffered from anxiety in lockdown and "wasn't in a good place" at last summer's Tokyo Games.

Jones was competing for an historic third Olympic gold medal but lost her first fight against Kimia Alizadeh of the Refugee Olympic Team.

"I didn't realise how much lockdown affected me," Jones told BBC Sport Wales.

"I haven't really spoken about it because it's not the kind of thing I do. But I was struggling with a lot of anxiety in lockdown and had never really experienced that before.

"I was petrified to go near my family, thinking I was going to pass on this deadly thing -- like everybody was. I was over-thinking everything. That's where it started from.

"On top of putting all that pressure on myself and being locked down as well. Then at the end of it, what normally helps is my family being there to cheer me on -- whereas it was just totally different [in Tokyo].

"It was dead. It didn't even feel like an Olympics. I just struggled to get into that zone mentally and in taekwondo, one little mess up in that two minutes and you're out. Your Games are over."

Despite the disappointment of Tokyo, Jones said that she believes she can in a medal at Paris 2024.

She won gold in her first tournament since the Games at the President's Cup in February.

"I've learnt so many lessons," she added.

"One of those is enjoying it again and not putting too much expectation on everything. Trying to just do my very best at each competition and see where it gets me.

"I hope I will definitely enjoy the journey a lot more this last couple of years.

"My first competition back was amazing. I fought five real tough opponents. And obviously it was a dream comeback to stamp my foot on the ground to say I'm still here. Tokyo was a fluke and a one-off.

"I'm going to carry on because I still believe I can get that third medal.

"But it's just that realisation that it's tough. I could go again and lose my first fight again. So it's about being realistic that it might not be a fairytale ending -- but I'm going to give it my best."