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Me and my health: Olympian Jim Kirkwood on his lifestyle


Gym fix: Jim Kirkwood
Gym fix: Jim Kirkwood
Jim Kirkwood with his wife Pamela and daughters Victoria and Danielle

The Olympic gold medallist (56), who is originally from Lisburn, works as Business Acquisition Manager at Danske Bank. He lives in Hillsborough, is married to Pamela (55) and has two daughters, Victoria (25) and Danielle (22).

Q: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?

A: I do like to exercise and currently go to the Hybrid Fitness Gym in Belfast three times a week. I actually go at 6am before work and if you had told me I would have been doing this 20 years ago, I would have questioned my sanity. There's a great buzz at the gym, with lots of positivity that does give me a good start to the day.

I also like to cycle, both on the north coast and around the Dromara hills and Mourne mountains and I'm currently training for a sportive in Majorca in April with a lot of old friends, who include some of my old hockey colleagues such as Stephen Martin, Kenny Morris and Colin Allister. We did the same sportive last year and we're hoping to improve on last year's performance - it certainly motivates us to get out together and that has to be a plus.

Q: What is the worst illness you've had?

A: I'm very lucky that I haven't had a serious illness.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

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A: I think my diet is reasonably good, primarily as my wife Pamela is a great cook! That's not to say I'm not tempted by the odd fish supper or bag of crisps. I tried a cookery class last year that was great fun, but unfortunately the skills learned haven't materialised in the Kirkwood kitchen just yet.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: That's a tough one. I can get too invested in a box set or a book, while a bag of monkey nuts can be eaten in one sitting. My biggest food weakness is definitely Toblerone - I try to eat it over a period of time, but it rarely gets past a day.

Q: Do you drink and smoke/if so, how much?

A: I don't smoke, but I enjoy a beer or a glass of wine in good company. I try not to count how much, but I like to think we have a good social life, with all that that entails!

Q: Do you take any supplements?

A: No, although when I'm going up a steep hill on my bike, I sometimes think I should. I used to take supplements when I was training for hockey, but I was never convinced how much they helped.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: I like reading and listening to music, but going over the Dromara hills or Mourne mountains on my bike does just seem to calm everything down. The best thing we did as a family 20 years ago was to purchase a caravan in Portballintrae. It's been a real bolthole away from all the perceived stresses of normal life, with just fantastic memories that I like to think we're still adding to. Even though our two "kids" are now in their twenties, they still like coming up.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: I think I sleep pretty well normally, getting 6-7 hours most nights. I've also got very good at closing my eyes for 20 minutes during the day and that seems to recharge the batteries. Must be an age thing!

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: I thought I would, and certainly 30 years ago, I would have thought that somebody my age now was getting on a bit - but I'm lucky that I'm feeling healthy and enjoying life. Putting my socks on is a bit more of a challenge than it used to be, although I appreciate that things could change pretty quickly.

Q: What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: Porridge in the morning seems to set me up well for the day, but nothing I can think of outside that. I'm going through a period when I'm trying to drink more water, if that counts?

Jim Kirkwood with his wife Pamela and daughters Victoria and Danielle

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