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Jack Beaumont disappointed but proud after late call-up from Team GB for Rio Olympics

To say Jack Beaumont’s year has been a rollercoaster would be an understatement, but the Maidenhead rower insists he isn’t put off riding it all the way to Tokyo.

Beaumont followed in his father’s footsteps – dad Peter competed at the 1988 Seoul Olympics – when he was called up to the Team GB quadruple scull for Rio 2016 as a late replacement following illness to Peter Lambert and Graeme Thomas.

Although it gave him little time to prepare, it was perhaps fitting for Beaumont who had already experienced a whirlwind campaign.

A training accident in August 2015 left him with four fractured vertebrae in his back, two broken ribs and a torn hip flexor muscle – a year out from the Games he could barely move his feet.

However, the 22-year-old rowed his way back into contention, only to just miss out on a spot in the boat as he was selected as a non-travelling reserve.

The highs and lows didn’t stop there though as Lambert and Thomas fell ill and Beaumont was rushed to Rio, helping the boat finish fifth in the quadruple scull final.

After all that you would think Beaumont has had enough of the Olympic experience – but you couldn’t be further from the truth.

“For me it was all a bit of a whirlwind because I wasn’t supposed to be going as I was a non-travelling spare,” said Leander Club member Beaumont.

“So I was meant to be at home covering in case anyone got ill and I was disappointed not to be going. It turned out someone got ill and I was called up at the last minute so I didn’t have the build-up where you felt this is where I want to get to and I had a short one where I felt ‘I have to get this boat as quick as I can in as short a time as possible’.

“Of course you want to win and we finished in fifth. At the time we were really disappointed but we tried our best and looking back now a few weeks on, I am proud of how we performed and how we dealt with that situation.

“This year has been a complete rollercoaster of emotions. I went from the start of the year where I didn’t even know if I would be rowing, to setting my sights on making the Olympic team, to then the disappointment of not making the team and I had moved on from that because I thought I wouldn’t be needed as a spare.

“I then got a phone call saying ‘Jack, we need you to come to Rio for tomorrow’ and that was the Sunday before the regatta started.

“I didn’t even know then if I was racing so I sat on the plane for 11 hours thinking that I didn’t want to get myself too excited because I don’t want to get there and be told you are not racing and built it up in my head so those 11 hours were full of mind games.

“Once I arrived, I was told I was racing and it was so overwhelming and underwhelming because I didn’t get the build-up that everyone else had because I was told ‘right Jack you are in the Olympic Games and you are racing really soon so you have to get on with it’.

“Now Tokyo is absolutely on my agenda. I am one of the younger guys in the team so I have every intention of carrying on for at least four more years.

“I love rowing, I have so much fun with the guys doing it, and before I went to Rio I had every intention of carrying on and this has just motivated me more – watching guys like the men’s fours and men’s eight, who are my best mates that train with us each day, has made me want to win gold even more.”

Beaumont was speaking at The Heroes’ Return event at Leander Club in Henley, a celebration of the achievements of Team GB’s rowers in Rio.

Starting at Leander Club, the Team GB athletes were greeted by crowds as they rowed up and down the River Thames before going on an open-top bus parade through Henley.

And Beaumont admits it is still sinking in that he can now call himself an Olympian.

“I have always wondered what it would feel like to sit on the start-line of an Olympic final but the most nervous I was when we were sitting on the start-line of the repechage where we had to finish in the top two to make the final,” he added.

“Once we sat on the start-line of the Olympic final, I thought ‘right in the next six minutes I could achieve everything that I have wanted in the sport’.

“It all happened so quickly, from two weeks before when I was at home, and I probably felt exactly the same as before every race since I started rowing – the only difference is that when I first started I was worried I wouldn’t finish the race upright.

“We knew it was going to hurt and what was at stake but it is the same thing we do all of the time.”

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Invesco Perpetual is the proud supporter of Leander Club.

A 14-year relationship built on shared philosophy and commitment to investing in people, nurturing talent and taking a long-term approach, with 123 Olympic & three Paralympic medals won by its members since 1908.

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