A cyclist who gave up his Olympic dream for a life of 'beer and women' has set his sights on competing for Team GB - after shedding half of his body weight 42 years later.
Steve Johnson was tipped for stardom as a 10st young lad but gave it all up at 18 to indulge in daily fry ups, takeaways and trips to the boozer, where he could guzzle 20 pints a night.
Over the decades, the construction worker watched his slight frame and weight balloon up to 21st. But he managed to plummet all the way back down to 10st 7lbs almost half a century later.
Steve, now 62, said he didn't get back on the bike saddle a single time in all those decades and his lifestyle became consumed by eating and drinking whatever he wanted.
The turning point came in December 2018 during a routine trip to hospital when Steve was marked down on paperwork as being obese, which he said was a 'horrifying' moment.
From that point on Steve swapped Carling for quinoa to completely transform his lifestyle - and within the space of two years saw his weight plummet to just over 10st. Just look at him now:
He is back to cycling an impressive 300 miles a week and has set his sights on competing for Team GB in cycling at the veteran's world championships in Australia next year.
Steve, from Wigan, Greater Manchester, said: "I lost out on my dream of competing for Great Britain as a kid, I gave it up when I got older and discovered beer and women.
"Now I've sorted my weight out and have fallen back in love with the sport of cycling it would mean the world for me to represent my country, it's my dream again all these years later."
Despite winning numerous junior championships, the talented youngster says he "lost his way" and "fell out of love" with the sport aged 18, when he started working as a labourer.
He said: "My lifestyle became going to work with no breakfast, having a full English at 10 or 11am followed by a chippy lunch.
"At 3pm I'd go to the pub and drink as much as I could get down me before my wife picked me up at 7pm, then it'd be a Chinese or curry for tea."
Steve, who's married with stepchildren and grandchildren, said he maintained that lifestyle for years as his weight ballooned - resulting in him being known as 'Big Ste' to his pals.
He even bought a customised number plate for £500 reading 'B16 STE', which he made a tidy profit on a couple of years ago after selling it for £10,000.
Steve said: "I ate and drank whatever I wanted, it was a simple as that. At the pub I could drink 20 pints easily, it was like I never got drunk or even hungover, my body could just take it so I kept going."
Steve, who runs his own construction firm, knocked booze on the head once and for all in December 2018 and completely ditched the junk food.
He said: "I gave it all up just like that. Doctors said it wasn't a good idea and that I should take things slowly but I wanted to change so badly that I didn't listen. I had started thinking about my life, I have grandkids and I was worried I wouldn't get to see them grow up."
He embarked on a 99 percent plant-based diet, ditching meat entirely, instead opting for salads and meat alternatives like jackfruit and Quorn, as well as stopping drinking.
Steve joined a gym and began doing cardio work to shift the pounds and build up his fitness before buying a bike in summer 2019.
He said: "It was weird to be back on a bike again, I hadn't been on one in over 40 years, but it didn't take me long to fall back in love with the sport. I just got better and better, it was great."
Steve has enjoyed a number of races with Liverpool Phoenix Cycling Club and has already signed up to compete in 21 British Masters Cycling Racing events later this year.
Last year he rode all the way from Land's End to Manchester but his ultimate goal is to qualify for a veteran's world championships in Australia in 2022.
He said: "I'm determined to get there, it won't be easy but I think I can do it. It would be a dream come true. I can't wait to give it a go."
Good luck, Steve.
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