Katherine Grainger will bid for her fifth successive Olympic Games medal after qualifying for the women’s double sculls final at Rio 2016 – and she insists it will feel the same as the first, second, third and fourth.
Grainger is a British rowing legend having claimed three silvers in a row between Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008 before finally getting a golden upgrade at London 2012.
She finds herself in the women’s double sculls with Victoria Thornley having won gold in London with Anna Watkins but the story is very much the same.
The Team GB pair were one of three to row to finals on the morning of day four in Rio, finishing second in their semi-final, and Grainger admits the feeling of winning an Olympic medal will never wear off.
“It is the Olympics you want to pull out your best races. The most pleasing thing was that the first thing we said when we got out of the boat was that we can row a lot better,” she said.
“It was a great race on a day to get the right result in a very tough event when we lost some of the world’s best but we are not completely satisfied with it, which is a good thing.
“Of course the nerves will be there and the heart will be pounding when the alarm goes off in the morning [of the final]. We don’t want to make it any different but it [being in the final] will raise the energy levels higher.
“Getting a medal is always the most thrilling, exciting, wonderful thing you can do at an Olympics. Right now it is about getting the best performance out of the two of us and if that’s fast enough that’s where we want to be.”
Stewart Innes and Alan Sinclair progressed in the men’s pair while Jonathan Walton and John Collins followed suit in the men’s double sculls – but there were mixed emotions.
The men’s lightweight four were fourth in their final and so have to settle for the B final and Olympic champion Katherine Copeland and Charlotte Taylor struggled in the repechage.
The women’s lightweight double scullers placed third, ending their medal hopes, but men’s single sculler Alan Campbell finished second to make the semi-finals.
“I have qualified in a good place, the draw looks very fair, tough but fair, and I am very happy. The semi-final is now probably the most important race,” he said.
“I understand that the medals are determined in the final but if you don’t get this one right, you are going home with nothing. It is all about the semi-final.”