After a hugely successful start in cycling, including the crown of double world champion in 2013, the track cyclist struggled with career-threatening injuries and even suffered a cancer scare. This year has brought a silver lining to the dark clouds that at one time hovered over her, with a World Track Championship bronze in March, followed by two silver medals in Rio.
Dental hygiene makes a difference
She puts part of her success down to good dental hygiene and the support from her dentist, friend and sponsor – Dr Nigel Jones (www.nigeljonesimplants.co.uk). Dr Jones is implant dentist and a lecturer and examiner on the Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP) implant diploma course at the Royal College of Surgeons.
‘It’s been a huge help having Nigel so high up in dental implants,’ said Becky James.
‘Being an athlete you take on a lot of energy drinks. It’s very sugary stuff. Having good dental hygiene and your teeth looked after is very important for athletes because there are such small margins – it can mean the difference between winning and losing.’
In safe hands
Dr Jones, who lectures around the world on dental implants, treats Becky when she returns to her home town of Abergavenny, working closely with British Cycling doctors to ensure no banned substances are used during treatment. Dr Jones is no stranger to providing implant dentistry to elite athletes with work referred to him for players at Premier League football club, Swansea City, and Welsh rugby region, Ospreys. He has also placed an implant for Becky.
‘I had a bad problem with one of my teeth in the run-up to the World Championships in 2013,’ Becky continued.
‘It needed to be removed and I had an implant to minimise the disruption to my training. Problems with your teeth can set you back so much in a race or in training, so it was very important to get that done quickly.’
Becky’s boyfriend – Wales international and British and Irish Lions rugby player, George North, has also been examined by Dr Jones.
‘George has also benefitted from Nigel’s expertise,’ Becky said. ‘Thankfully he has perfect teeth! He’s a very lucky guy!’
North was present as James claimed her first silver at the Rio velodrome. Despite being last with one lap to go, she powered around the outside of the track to make the podium just 0.033 seconds behind Dutch winner Elis Liglee.
In the sprint, she broke Victoria Pendleton’s Olympic record, before narrowly losing the final to Germany’s Kristina Vogel.
‘I have never wanted anything so much,” Becky explained. ‘I was so determined and just really wanted those medals.
‘Nigel and his wife Sarah have been incredible to me, ever since I used to babysit for them. I can’t thank them enough for supporting me through my injuries.
‘I think a lot of people lost hope in me during that time, but they didn’t, so it’s nice to repay them with some Olympic silver medals.’