BBC Sports Personality contender 2014: Jo Pavey

Jo Pavey

"I'm sure she is an inspiration to a lot of people. She's been an inspiration to me" - 2002 BBC Sports Personality Paula Radcliffe on Jo Pavey.

Year in a nutshell

  • Won first major title at the European Championships in Zurich in the 10,000m
  • At the age of 40 years and 325 days became the oldest-ever female European athletics champion
  • Ten days previously she won a bronze in the 5,000m at the Commonwealth Games
  • Devon athlete only returned to the track in May, eight months after giving birth to her second child, when she won British 10,000m Championship
Jo Pavey

The Inside track: Jo Pavey

Paula Radcliffe, the world marathon record holder, gives her thoughts on 41-year-old Pavey.

"I'm sure she is an inspiration to a lot of people. She's been an inspiration to me," said Radcliffe.

Sports Personality profile: Pavey

"I admire her so much - it's not just her age, it's more the length of her career. She was setting English schools records 27 years ago as a 14-year-old.

"She's triumphed having had a child and come back so quickly after the birth of her daughter Emily, and not even being sure she would make the team. Earlier this year, she was breastfeeding.

"It's her attitude that has resonated with so many people. She will give it her best, and is realistic, but will risk everything in a race to get a medal.

"You can see how many times she had to summon up more energy to fight for a medal in the Commonwealth Games. She wanted it so badly. I was on the edge of my seat.

"She is happy in her life as a mother and doesn't have time to stress any more over the details. She's demonstrated that life isn't over when you have kids in terms of running and being fit.

"Jo has been surprised by the attention, but people can identify with her. She's just a lovely person - very loyal, genuine and fair."

Four facts about Jo Pavey
In 1988, 15-year-old Pavey (née Davis) broke GB record in the 1500m for her age group, finishing eight places and 13 seconds ahead of Radcliffe. Her 11-month-old daughter Emily and son Jacob, five, were in the stadium in Zurich when she won the European gold medal.
Competed in her first event - the world championships in Athens - 17 years ago. Husband Gavin is her coach. Pavey hopes to run in her fifth Olympics at Rio in 2016. She has not ruled out going for the Commonwealth Games in Australia two years later.

Paula Radcliffe was speaking to BBC Sport's Frank Keogh

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