Olympic friendships dating

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‘While my career was taking off in an exciting new direction, I was unfulfilled in other areas.Girlfriends were settling down and having babies but, at 30, I found myself living alone after a long-term relationship failed.Another thing Russia is known for is their beautiful women, their intelligence and independent thinking.

That chance meeting was the start of a gloriously unexpected friendship that had me putting my husband in charge of the children’s bath-time once a week so I could travel - chicken soup in tow - to visit my great-aunt for the next instalment in her colourful life story.

Having moved to the UK from America 19 years ago, she lived close to Deborah and they often met up to discuss life’s challenges over a cup of coffee.

‘Glenna told me I was a strong, creative person and to be confident in my own decisions,’ says Deborah.

Lisa’s struggles with her marriage resonated with Lynda. I had recently lost my sister to stomach cancer, and my son had moved away for work, taking my three gorgeous granddaughters with him, so I’d been at a low ebb myself,’ says Lynda.

‘Lisa was incredibly supportive with phone calls, visits and emails, so I wanted to do the same for her. All she needed was someone to tell her she was doing a good job — and that’s what I did.’‘For the younger party, it’s like having a mother who you can tell everything to without feeling judged or criticised.

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