Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 January 2020

Great Britain rowing’s Katherin Grainger has ‘freshness’ with fifth Olympic trip sealed

British Olympian Katherine Grainger, at 40 years old a three-time silver medallist, will compete in her fifth Games in the double sculls rowing discipline in Rio de Janeiro.
Team GB rower Katherine Grainger will compete in her fifth Olympic Games in Rio. Nick Potts / PA
Team GB rower Katherine Grainger will compete in her fifth Olympic Games in Rio. Nick Potts / PA

Olympic rowing champion and three-time silver medalist Katherine Grainger’s dream to become Britain’s most decorated female Olympian is on, after she gained a late slot in the team for Rio on Sunday.

The 40-year-old – who will compete in the double sculls with Vicky Thornley who is over a decade her junior – said she hadn’t returned from a sabbatical solely so she could compete at a fifth Games.

“I didn’t take time out, then come back, to go to a fifth Olympics and just get a T-shirt,” she told the BBC.

“Vicky and myself both want a medal and we haven’t lowered our sights.”

Grainger, who ended her run of Olympic near-misses in grand style at London in 2012 by winning the double with Anna Watkins, and Thornley have had a tortuous route to selection having missed out when the original list of 43 names were unveiled earlier this month.

They failed to secure places in the eight, for which they made a late bid for inclusion having not medalled at this year’s European Championships in the double – although last year when they were first paired together they took bronze.

“It’s not been the smoothest or most direct route but it’s a relief that we’re there,” said Grainger, who is also a six-time world champion.

“There have been days when I couldn’t necessarily see a way forward and times when I couldn’t see the path but I never stopped believing I could get there.

“The double was never written off.

“We weren’t happy with where we were competitively and there was still time to explore if there was a better option,” added the Scotswoman.

Grainger, who gained a law degree in the time she was on sabbatical after winning Olympic gold, says that there is a lot to work on in the coming 50 days after they finished only fifth in the World Cup event last weekend.

“There’s not a lot of time left and there’s nothing like Rio getting closer to sharpen the minds,” Grainger said.

“There’s a freshness and excitement because we can now concentrate on getting in the boat and trying to make it go faster.”

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Updated: June 26, 2016 04:00 AM