Beaumont fights for Olympic selection after horror accident left him with broken back
It's less than 12 months since Jack Beaumont was involved in a training collision and thought he may never walk again, let alone row for Team GB at an Olympic Games.
But fast forward to the present day and the Maidenhead rower’s sights are set firmly on Rio.
At a pre-World Championship training camp in Portugal last August, Beaumont and his training partner Angus Groom were hit by the GB men’s eight boat.
Beaumont was left with four fractured vertebrae in his back, two broken ribs and a torn hip flexor muscle, while if the collision had been an inch to the left and hit his spine directly, he would have been left paralysed.
Beaumont spent a week in hospital in Lisbon, was immobilized for six weeks and given two weeks of treatment at the British Olympic Association’s Intensive Rehabilitation Unit at Bisham Abbey – while it took him four months to set foot back inside a boat again.
Understandably Beaumont is at a disadvantage as he heads to this month’s Olympic trials at Caversham, which take place in Caversham between March 21-23, having spent a significant period on the treatment table while his international rivals continued their Rio Olympic preparation.
But despite the significant setback, Beaumont refuses to be downcast and admits his period away from rowing his made even hungrier than ever to claim a Rio Olympic spot.
“It was six months ago now in August,” said Beaumont. “We were on a training camp in Portugal before the World Championships, and myself and my doubles partner Angus were out training.
“We had a head on collision with the men’s eight and their boat went directly into my back and fractured four vertebrae and two ribs. I tore some muscle in my hip as well so I went from there into hospital and spent just over a week in hospital. I flew back in an ambulance plane and went to hospital here. I then had six weeks of not being able to do anything.
“I wasn’t thinking will I go to Rio, I was firstly thinking will I be able to walk and secondly will I ever row again.
“Then I was thinking I’ve had a setback in getting into the team next year. I’m still motivated and that’s what has got me through the tough bit of the winter when I wasn’t able to do the training. I was hoping that I would still be able to make it to the Olympic Games this summer.
“It’s the reason we row. It means everything to go to the Olympic Games and the desire for that hasn’t left me just because of the setback I’ve had. In fact it will mean more to me if I make it now.”
Beaumont admits to being inpatient after his training crash, desperate to get back on the water his team-mates and continue his quest for the Rio Olympic Games.
He was held back by the British coaching staff and confined to the gym to work on his rehabilitation and after returning to form and fitness in recent weeks, Beaumont is pleased with his direction.
“Following my serious injury I had in August I was training in the intensive rehabilitation unit at Bisham Abbey,” he added. “From there I slowly but surely built up the training.
“I wanted to speed it up quicker but I had a leash around me. Of course they know best so I reluctantly did what they said and I was sitting on a bike a lot, which is quite boring training.
“I was only allowed to do one or two sessions a day while the other guys were doing two or three, but then I got to go on camp with them in November to Sierra Nevada for our altitude camp which was really good.
“I managed to complete that without my back hurting, which was a real achievement. From there I’ve built up to now being able to do the full training that they are all doing. It’s nice to be able to look over my shoulder and think that they’re not doing more than me.
“I think I’m just about now where I was before the accident. It is difficult that most of the other guys in the team have had a smooth season and cracked on with their training while I was recovering but I have to take it by the scruff of the neck and do as best as I can at the trials next month.”