YP Sports Hero: Adams’s resolve to remain at the top evident in all she does

It is a testament to her standing in women’s sport that Nicola 
Adams continues to inspire and entertain two years after her finest hour.

Nicola Adams holds up her gold medal for winning the women's flyweight boxing competition at the Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014, in Glasgow, Scotland, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. Adams won the gold medal.(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

In 2014, the 31-year-old Olympic flyweight boxing champion from Leeds was back to her history-making best, claiming the first women’s Commonwealth Games gold medal.

It is largely because of that 
accomplishment that she has garnered the fifth-highest portion of your vote in our search for Yorkshire’s Sports Hero of 2014.

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Out of all the White Rose’s Commonwealth champions – there were 13 and in a spoiler for later in the week there is one more to come as we count down towards our champion on Saturday – hers is the story that continues to resonate the most.

Do not forget, this is the Leeds lass whose back injury confined her to bed for most of 2009, leaving her to contemplate the prospect that her boxing career was over.

This is the woman who went to three world championship finals and lost, the woman who put all that behind her to create one of the endearing images of London 2012, that beaming smile and raised clenched fist saluting her place in history as the first female Olympic boxing champion.

Since then she has enjoyed the trappings of fame with countless television appearances and a visit to Buckingham Palace to collect an MBE – but behind the scenes her dedication never wavered.

In Glasgow in the summer, at a Commonwealth Games that enthralled a sporting nation desperate for another slice of the London 2012 feelgood factor, she proved against a new swathe of challengers that she remained the best in the business.

Even a change to the scoring system, from the traditional amateur tally of landed blows to a more professional method of judges scoring by rounds, could not derail the Burmantofts woman who trains in Sheffield.

Over the course of five days at Glasgow’s 10,000-capacity Hydro Centre she beat Nigeria’s Oluwatoyin Oladeji, Sri Lanka’s Erandi de Silva and Canada’s Mandy Bujold – all by three rounds to none – en route to the final.

Then in one of the final acts of a whirlwind 10 days of medal-winning action, Adams stood toe-to-toe with Belfast flyweight Michaela Walsh in the final.

Against a foe 10 years her junior, Adams knew that ring-craft and guile would be required to negate the youthful exuberance of the Ulsterwoman. She also knew her celebrity status in women’s boxing – while transformational for the sport – made her a target for emerging talent.

“I get to do lots of exciting things,” said Adams on the eve of the final. “Movie premieres, going to Brazil with the Prime Minister and receiving an MBE.

“I’m just absolutely overwhelmed by how women’s boxing has taken off.

“But I’m definitely not unbeatable. Everyone is beatable on the right day.”

But on Saturday, August 2, 
Adams remained unbeatable – just – holding her nerve to edge out Walsh by one round.

“Everybody’s after me now,” said a relieved Adams. “I’ve got quite a big target on my back – I’m No 1 in the world and I’m Olympic and Commonwealth champion.

“Everybody wants to beat me so I can’t just focus on one person. I have to focus on everyone now.”

Adams had made history again.

If there was a negative footnote to her year it is that the world championship gold continues to elude her.

This time, the opponent which floored her was a shoulder injury, one that she revealed had hindered her in Glasgow.

“I struggled through the Commonwealth Games so winning gold for England meant even more to me knowing I was not competing at my best,” she said.

“I was gutted not to be taking part in the world championships, but having the operation when I did gave me longer to recover and means I will be able to return fitter and stronger.”

The rest of women’s boxing has been warned. With European gold to chase in 2015 and the world and Olympic titles to pursue the following year, expect Nicola Adams to continue featuring prominently in our annual search for Yorkshire’s Sports Hero.

The countdown to our No 1 –which will be revealed on Saturday – continues tomorrow with our fourth-placed finisher.

The winner of our competition to win a pair of hospitality tickets to day two of the Test match between England and New Zealand at Headingley Carnegie on 
Saturday, May 30, will also be revealed.