Golden Opportunity: Katherine Grainger, rowing

Olympic Review continues its countdown to the 2012 Games with exclusive interviews with stars of the 26 sports on the programme, who are targeting gold in London. After winning silver at three consecutive editions of the Olympic Games, Katherine Grainger is confident she can finally land that elusive gold medal on home waters next year.

How did it feel to win world championship gold in the double sculls last year?It was fantastic for Anna and I to win in New Zealand and complete an undefeated season in the double. And it was such a great experience to race in front of the incredible crowds at Karapiro.      

Does being world champion add to the pressure?I don’t think so, it’s a very special title to have and I value it hugely. I think it comes with a responsibility to try to be a better athlete in every way, but I don’t feel it adds any pressure.    

Will home support help you win that elusive Olympic gold medal?Let’s hope so! I have no doubt that the crowds in London will be an inspiration for everyone.   

Which nations are going to be the strongest competitors?It’s early to say, I think we’ll see what develops this season as people try for the Olympic qualification slots across different events. Usually the pre-Olympic year sees a healthy rise in numbers of crews and in the level of competition.    

Team GB has a great tradition of Olympic champion rowers, what is it about British rowing that breeds this formula?Inspirational athletes like Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent not only set the standard for other athletes but also showed just what was possible. Over the years, that success has spread to women’s and lightweight programmes and we are at a place now where we work with some of the best coaches in the world, plus the support staff and management are all exceptional. Success has certainly bred success and everyone continues to push each other’s standards up.    

Did you always dream of being an Olympian?I always loved watching the Olympic Games growing up but I didn’t see myself as a full-time athlete. I was probably like most kids and went through the stage of wanting to be things like an astronaut, a trapeze artist and a vet.    

How does the average training week work?Huge amounts of training and a little bit of social life – no surprises there then!    

What is currently on your MP3 player?An enormous range of music – I listen to it a lot, so variety really is the answer for me. 

Enjoy the e-zine version of the March issue of Olympic Review magazine!