‘The Journey’ to Paris 2024: Team GB and Toyota’s Olympic docuseries

As the Worldwide Official Mobility Partner of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Toyota is committed to ensuring that athletes are transported to their respective events in the most efficient and sustainable means possible. But we are also fascinated in the journey that each athlete has travelled to be physically and emotionally prepared for this momentous event.

Team GB and Toyota have joined forces to present a new four-part docuseries entitled The Journey, which offers an insightful glance into the lives of four inspirational athletes on their respective journeys to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

In the first episode (scroll to bottom) we highlighted the journey of ‘B-Girl’ Roxanne Milliner as Team GB’s first female breaker. Scrolling back upwards, the series continued with cyclist Dame Laura Kenny, the most successful female Olympian in British history, who is pursuing her ambition to compete in her fourth Olympic Games. Now in the third episode we turn our attention to top British diver and teenage prodigy Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (lead image and above), who talks openly about the challenges she has overcome to reach top level competition, and her dreams of achieving Olympic success.

‘The Journey’ to Paris 2024: Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix

Nineteen-year-old Spendolini-Sirieix has been diving for eleven years and is already a world-class competitor. She made her international debut as a 13-year-old, followed just two years later with her first solo gold at the 2020 FINA Diving Grand Prix. She has amassed over 20 senior national and international medals, including two golds at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and two golds at the European Aquatics Championships in Rome. This tally has helped her become Britain’s most successful female diver of all time.

In this episode of The Journey, Spendolini-Sirieix reveals how diving has moulded her personal development: “I’ve gone through a lot with my diving and it’s shaped who I am, not just as a diver, but as an athlete. And the drive, focus and determination that I have in training, I brought into school.”

She describes how it felt when she started on the senior dive circuit at just 13 years old: “I was scrawny little kid, no meat on me, and I was throwing myself off ten metres like the adults. Nothing is expected of you when you’re the underdog; it was like a superpower.”

Later in the film she talks about the stress she experienced after a disappointing result from a competition in Budapest when she was 13 and going through adolescence, which made her question whether she wanted to continue diving: “I was having panic attacks at school and at training. That period was incredibly difficult – I just didn’t perform. As much as it was painful, it was also the best kick in the butt I could’ve asked for. Sometimes you learn the most when you’re at rock bottom.”

Andrea’s mother Alex also features in the film. The strength and importance of her support are clear when Andrea speaks with emotion about her mum being her superhero: “Having that strong person behind you who won’t let you give up… it’s something I value so much. My mum means everything to me; it’s that kind of relationship that I will never take for granted – she’s taught me how to be a strong woman.” 

‘The Journey’ to Paris 2024: Dame Laura Kenny

Dame Laura Kenny made her Olympic debut at London 2012, where she won her first two gold medals, before claiming her third and fourth at Rio 2016. She gave birth to her first son in 2017 and made a comeback to land her fifth Olympic title at Tokyo 2020, along with a silver medal in the team pursuit.

The Journey

Now in this second episode of The Journey, Kenny reveals the ambition to compete in her fourth Olympic Games in Paris 2024, following the birth of her second son earlier this year.

The Journey

She comments: “I know everyone thinks I’m absolutely mad, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know. I would hate to be sat here thinking that I never even gave it a go. I hope both children see their mum as someone who was determined to make both things work. They will never have the burden of thinking, ‘Oh, mum had me and then ended her career.’ Because I didn’t. I carried on; I made it work. I hope they look back and can see that from the day they were born, they were part of the journey.”

The Journey

“The two different comebacks between Albie and Monty have been so different,” she continued. “With Albie I came back feeling like I had a point to prove – that you could be a mum and be an Olympic champion all at the same time. This time, I’ve come back for me. I’ve come back because I love riding my bike and I cannot imagine it not being part of my life.”

‘The Journey’ to Paris 2024: Roxanne Milliner

Born and raised in Streatham, South London, Milliner discovered her love of breaking as a teenager. She commented: “As a kid, I was very competitive. I started out with trampolining and used to compete for Great Britain. There are a lot of gymnasts who go into breaking because of the similarities in movement, so, I got really good, really quickly.”

The Journey

Her path has been far from smooth, however. When she was 15 she broke a bone in her back and didn’t know if she’d be able to walk again. She said: “Looking back, I realise that breaking was my way of expressing myself and dealing with the pain. It was horrible, but I think that’s where the best breakers come from. When I’m feeling happy, I dance differently to when I’m heartbroken. I think when I’m heartbroken, I break the best.”

The Journey

Milliner experienced a further setback when she tore her pelvic floor muscle while pregnant with her son Leo in 2020 and was in a wheelchair for most of her pregnancy. She comments: “I was in the most pain I’ve ever known. But after Leo was born, I thought, ‘I can still do this, come on let’s go!’ Going to the Olympics would be the best opportunity ever.”

The Journey

Still to come…

The fourth and final episode of The Journey will feature reigning Commonwealth and former World Champion gymnast Giarnni Regini-Moran.

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