BEING touted as a future Olympian by one of your own parents when you’re only seven would be a burden to many, but Jonny Dickson is ready to fulfil his destiny.

Now in his first year with Great Britain’s senior canoe slalom team, the former world under-23 silver and bronze medallist has already shown why dad David – himself a keen paddler and former coach – was

willing to make such a bold prediction for his offspring even at such a tender age. That aspiration could become a reality as soon as next year when Paris hosts the next Olympics but there are plenty of other milestones for Dickson to chalk up between now and then.

His first senior year will peak with the world championships that will be held this year at home, literally for Dickson, at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in September, while the Linlithgow athlete is also still eligible for the under-23 category in which he will attempt to land the one missing medal from his world collection.

If Paris 2024, and the intense

qualifying process that will involve just to make the GB team, comes around too soon then the 22 year-old is happy to retrain his sights on Los Angeles in 2028. But he has no

problem with trying to live up to his dad’s early expectations.

“The Olympics was something that was mentioned early on as a possibility one day and Paris is definitely an option,” he says. “I think I’m probably looking at the next one as there’s some fierce competition – I’d have to beat an Olympic champion to get the spot – but Paris isn’t totally impossible.

“This is something I’ve always done since I was a kid and I was fortunate to have parents who were really flexible and supportive. I spent a lot of time with my dad at weekends, travelling all around the country trying to get better.

“My mum and dad are still heavily involved in the sport and come to all the races which is nice as they’ve played a big part in my career, at the beginning especially. Over the last few years my mum has started to come to more events. She wasn’t passionate about it before but now she’s there all the time and really sociable. She’s told me she’s missed some of my races in the past as she was too busy chatting to people!”

Having first been taken out on the water by his dad as a three-year-old, Dickson has been immersed in canoeing his whole life. It would only be natural in those circumstances if there were times when he’d happily never set foot in the water again but he remains cheerily upbeat at the opportunity he has been given to make something he loves his full-time job.

“Getting to live this lifestyle is crazy still for me as I get paid to do what I love,” he adds. “I’m lucky that I don’t have to find work outside of that and can just commit myself to trying to be as good as I can.”

Even during downtime from training, he can’t escape his surroundings having moved into a house in the middle of the park.

“There’s an old warden’s cottage within the grounds of the course and I actually live there now which is pretty mental,” he reveals. “Before that I was living just across the road in the block of flats and didn’t think it was possible to live any closer to the training venue. But here we are!”

As well as his parents, Dickson has another person he can talk to about the joys and stresses of competitive paddling, with girlfriend Francesca Malaguti an international competitor with the Italian canoe team.

“She’s really supportive and invested in the sport as well,” he adds. “She competes for Italy and has won bronze at the European Championships before. The Italian system is amazing. She’s in their version of the RAF and gets paid through that.”