Katherine Grainger reveals why she returned to rowing

Will Taylor

Fresh off the back of an Olympics she wasn’t sure she would compete in, Maidenhead’s Olympic rower Katherine Grainger has written an updated biography which recounts her Rio experience.

The book, due out this month, will serve as a 2016 update to Dreams Do Come True, which she wrote in 2013.

It was penned at a time when there were many doubts about whether she would continue with her rowing following her gold medal-winning performance in the 2012 London Olympics.

Grainger, 40, said: “I didn’t know if I would go after 2012.

“I try to explain the reasons I went back in the first place. This book is everything from my perspective, everything that happened in a short space of time.”

Grainger first competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where she won silver, and has won at least a silver in every Olympics since.

She took two years out of the sport after London, during which she considered her future.

In that time, she earned a PHD in homicide sentencing from King’s College, University of London.

Glasgow-born Grainger, who was made a CBE in 2013, said of that time: “It was kind of coming to terms with everything.

“I didn’t know if I wanted to return.”

It meant that when she decided to go back to the sport she loved in 2014, she had to work even harder than her previous training regime to build herself up for Rio.

“When I finally made the decision, it felt right,” she explained.

“I spoke to my mum and dad first. They were not surprised.

“I knew on my first day back it was the right decision.”

The tough, intense training would pay off, however, when she picked up silver in the double skulls with

co-rower Vicky Thornley and became the most decorated British female Olympian in history.

“That was the most satisfying medal,” she said.

The rowing training tempo was, she added, tougher ‘than I ever could have predicted’.

“I had to fight hard for this one,” she said.

“It was a very difficult couple of years.”

Her plans for now are to go on holiday and rest after a long career that has seen her win four Olympic silvers and one gold, as well as six world championship titles.

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