Bianca Cook is determined to secure a “fairytale ending” to her taekwondo career by erasing her Olympic heartbreak in Paris next year.
The 31-year-old, who was forced to settle for gut-wrenching bronze medals in both Rio and Tokyo, has confirmed that next year’s Games in the French capital will be her last.
Cook, who married her long-term partner and fellow taekwondo champion Aaron Cook last year, fell on golden point to China’s Shuyin Lee in the 2016 semi-finals then lost to a last-second head-kick against Dabin Lee in Tokyo.
But she insists that, after shrugging off her most recent disappointment, she is more motivated than ever to complete her glittering career on a high.
“It’s definitely the last one I’m going for so I’m going to give it everything I’ve got,” Cook told the PA news agency.
“All I’ve got on my mind is getting to Paris and winning that gold. I know I’m still good enough and, if I can finish my career with a gold medal in Paris, it would be the fairytale ending.”
In the meantime Cook is hoping to make more history in her sport by becoming the first woman to win four world taekwondo titles in Baku, Azerbaijan later this month.
Cook won consecutive gold medals in Chelyabinsk, Muju and Manchester between 2015 and 2019 but failed to make it four in a row when she missed out on the 2022 tournament in Guadalajara due to injury.
“I never thought I’d be in the position to make history after missing the last one, so it is a great motivation to become the only female ever to have four gold medals,” Cook added.
“Making history is the sort of thing that motivates you through another cycle because for me it is all about that Olympic gold – I would give everything else away for that right now.
“But I don’t feel like I’m chasing anything. I could go to Paris having won four world titles and five Europeans so I have already achieved more than I ever dreamed of in this sport.
“Paris would be the happy ending but if I didn’t get it I wouldn’t be going to try again to get to the next one.”
Great Britain’s 11-strong team for the World Championship also includes double Olympic champion Jade Jones, and Cook’s fellow Tokyo medallists Lauren Williams and Bradly Sinden.