The coronavirus pandemic has forced Olympian Aimee Fuller to put her globetrotting lifestyle on hold, but that does not mean the snowboarder-turned-broadcaster has wasted lockdown.
In the last three months, Fuller has launched her own brand of coffee, started an online yoga class with Gyles Brandreth and recorded her own television show all from the comfort of her Bangor apartment.
Fuller – who was born in London but spent her teenage years in North Down – has spent the last 12 weeks in back in Northern Ireland.
She explained, “I’m staying in a little place right by the seafront, which has been incredible.
“It’s actually the longest I’ve ever spent in Northern Ireland. Even when I was at school here, I was travelling during the holidays so this last ten to 12 weeks is the longest time I’ve spent one place in a very long time.
“Spending these last couple of months here has really made me appreciate North Down and Northern Ireland. There have been lots of long walks along the coast and dips in the sea, and when the restrictions were eased, I was able to go paddle boarding. To have all this natural beauty on my doorstop has been incredible. It’s really opened my eyes to what Northern Ireland has to offer.”
Fuller, who competed for Great Britain at both Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018, is now a well-known television personality. During lockdown she recorded a web series for BBC Sport called Lockdown Lowdown, in which she interviewed the likes of cricketer Jonny Bairstow, tennis star Johanna Konta and fellow Olympian Tom Daley.
She explained, “It’s just me chatting to other athletes on how they are copying with this strange situation and the big gap its left in all our lives. I talked to athletes from all over the world, which was pretty cool. I love working on creative media projects, so I really enjoyed the process of making those videos.”
Fuller chatted to several Olympians and Paralympians who have had to come to terms with the fact that Tokyo 2020 has been delay by 12 months.
“You would assume that the postponement would be devastating news for everyone, but all the athletes are finding ways to deal with it. I interviewed Paralympian Will Bayley who damaged his ACL in Strictly Come Dancing. He may have missed Tokyo so this delay has been a blessing in disguise for him.
“For others, it’s tough because you will be a year older and there is no guarantee that your body will maintain its ability for that extra 12 months. But for someone like footballer Millie Bright, it’s a good opportunity get some rest. She told me it’s the first time she’s had a break in years, so it’s different for every athlete.”
Aimee, 28, is also a qualified yoga teacher. During lockdown, she set up a special yoga tutorial for the elderly with some help from former MP and actor Gyles Brandreth.
Fuller said, “Yoga is something that’s very important to me. People probably associate me with mindfulness and are probably not surprised to hear I like yoga, but it took me a while to get into and understand the benefits of it. It’s now an import part of my life.
“Last year I trained as a yoga teacher and hosted a yoga class called the snowboarder’s retreat.
“Yoga is great because it can be adapted to suit all ages. My Nan, who just turned 80, loves her yoga. She normally attends a class in Holywood but that’s not been possible during lockdown.
“That got me thinking that lots of people must be in the same position as my Nan, so I started a class called the Evening Stretch for older fans of yoga. I roped Gyles Brandreth in to help me, who is great fun. There are two videos sitting on YouTube for anyone who wants to give it a go. I just wanted to show that yoga is accessible to anyone at any level.”
But how does Aimee manage to balance her sporting activities with her burgeoning media career? Simple, coffee. The bean aficionado even has her own special blend.
“I’m very passionate about my coffee”, she laughed.
“I’ve been working with a company called 47 Degrees on my own blend coffee. Over the last few months, I’ve been experimenting, and I’ve finally came up with something that I really like. So, I launched Full Send under the Fuller Beans imprint a few weeks ago. Full Send is a smooth well-balanced cup of coffee with notes of chocolate, caramel and nut.
“I donated 25 bags to the Ulster Hospital and another 25 bags to a hospital in England. It is nice to be able to give the NHS staff something to keep them going at this challenging time. It’s only a small gesture but the coffee has been well received.
“Everyone who has bought it so far seems to have really enjoyed it. It’s something I’m really proud of.”
Whether its her web series, her yoga classes or her coffee blend it’s fair to say Aimee Fuller has plenty to be proud of.