Lauren Price won Team GB’s final gold of the Tokyo Olympics (Adam Davy/PA)
The late-night revellers picked up in gold medal-winning boxer Lauren Price’s taxi were so in awe of her they never gave her any trouble, her aunt has said.
Price battled her way to Olympic glory in the women’s middleweight final early on Sunday morning, defeating China’s Li Qian to take the top spot on the podium.
It is the latest victory in a glittering career for the athlete, who was previously four-time youth kickboxing champion and has 52 caps for the Welsh football team.
When she opted to chase her dream of Olympic boxing glory over her promising club football with Cardiff City she helped make ends meet by driving a taxi at weekends.
In an interview with the Duke of Cambridge ahead of her final bout, she said: “I picked up all the drunks on a Friday and Saturday night.”
He laughed: “I bet they didn’t mess with you, Lauren.”
Her aunt, Alison Morris, 44, told the PA news agency that Price had never taken any nonsense from her passengers in the Welsh valleys.
“Everybody knows Lauren throughout the country,” she said.
She joked her niece is a “bit of a celebrity” and getting in her taxi was something of a treat for locals.
Ms Morris said Price’s family are “ecstatic, elated, over the moon and all the other words that you can use to describe how extremely happy you are”.
She’s touched a lot of people because she’s such an inspiration and she’s so down to earth and grounded
Alison Morris, Lauren Price’s aunt
Price was raise by her grandparents from just three days old because her own parents were unable to look after her.
Her grandmother, Linda Jones, 68, is Price’s biggest fan but is unable to watch her fight because she gets too nervous.
Ms Morris said: “I rang (my mum) straight after the fight because obviously she doesn’t watch, and when I told her ‘Mum, she’s done it, she’s done it, she’s won’, she said ‘What? Really?’, and then she just started crying.”
Price’s beloved grandfather Derek died in November last year after a long battle with dementia.
Price told William: “I know he will be looking down on me.”
Following her win, the duke tweeted from the @KensingtonRoyal account: “Congratulations@LLPrice94 on winning Olympic Boxing gold.
“It was fantastic to hear your story in person ahead of #Tokyo2020
“I know your nan Linda and the whole of Ystrad Mynach will be so proud of your incredible achievement, as are we! W”
Congratulations @LLPrice94 on winning Olympic Boxing gold 🥇
It was fantastic to hear your story in person ahead of… https://t.co/yHw1I4Tnwd
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge)
Ms Morris said Price’s family are much more nervous before her fights than she is, and that the boxer can relax easily.
“She enjoys watching TV and just basically chilling out,” she said. “She’s a very relaxed person anyway and she doesn’t get ruffled very easily, so she’s relaxed quite a lot of the time.
“Lauren just works really hard – that’s just her work ethic, it is something she has always wanted to achieve and now she has.”
As a child, Price famously told a teacher she wanted to play for Wales, be kickboxing world champion and win Olympic gold.
Even after achieving all three, her family do not think she will be slowing down anytime soon and expect to see her fighting for Team GB in Paris in 2024.
“Definitely, she will continue,” Ms Morris said.
“We are just really, really proud of her and extremely happy for her and grateful for all the support she’s received from everybody – not just her family and friends but throughout Wales and throughout Britain.
“Even abroad, we’ve had messages from abroad and everything. She’s just touched a lot of people because she’s such an inspiration and she’s so down to earth and grounded.”