Katherine Grainger prepares for new journey which could end in Rio 2016
Katherine Grainger starts what could be a 21-month journey which she hopes will lead to a fifth Olympic medal when she takes part in the GB Rowing team assessment in Boston, Lincolnshire this weekend. For Maidenhead resident Grainger, who celebrated her 39th birthday yesterday (Wednesday), it will be the first time she has raced competitively in the UK since winning gold at London 2012.
The six-times world champion knows that many questioned whether she should return to the sport after such a fairytale performance in 2012.
During her two-year hiatus from rowing, she began to think about a return to the boat.
“People who are very happy and content [in their retirement] say ‘I love watching the sport, I don’t want to do it again – I don’t want to go back to the training regime or to the stress and nerves of competitions’, whereas I was watching it thinking ‘I can do that. I should be doing that. I like doing that’,” she said.
Grainger is also fully aware of the challenges ahead.
She said: “When I made the decision, I obviously had Rio in mind – I wouldn’t come back just to do this as a ‘job’. I came back feeling that if it all went right the Rio Olympics was always the goal.
“We’ve got some fantastic experts working all the way across British sport and I feel in very, very safe hands.”
She added: “All of the staff so far have been really positive.
“They have said, ‘yes, you need to be sensible and of course as you do get older, recovery is more important than ever before but other than that there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be hitting the peaks you have hit before’.”
Paul Thompson, GB Rowing’s chief coach for women and lightweights said: “Katherine has been training hard and well since her return, this will be a good test for her to measure her progress and complete the first part of the selection process for the 2015 season.”
Grainger will race against the clock on a rowing machine on the Saturday, train on the water that afternoon and will race a 5km time trial on the Sunday.
As all rowers who competed in the 2014 World Champion-ships are exempt from the assessment.
Grainger has won three Olympic silvers as well as a memorable gold at London 2012 in the double scull with Anna Watkins in a lengthy international career.
*Maidenhead’s Jack Beaumont will also feature in the weekend’s assessment, up against Angus Groom and Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell in the men’s single sculls.