Katherine Grainger insists she still hasn't decided about her future in rowing but admits time is ticking to make the call.
After three Olympic silvers, Grainger finally won gold at London 2012 when she partnered Anna Watkins to an emotional victory in the double sculls at Eton Dorney.
She has spent this year completing her PhD at King's College while Watkins also stepped away from the sport and recently gave birth to her first son William.
However, the 38-year old Scot, one of the guests of honour at the recent British Olympic Gold Ball in London, remains undecided whether to make her sabbatical permanent or take the first step on the road to Rio.
“If I knew that answer my life would be a lot easier," she said. "I honestly still don’t know and Rio is, of course, an incentive to carry on.
“Any Olympian, who has been to the Olympics and especially had the enjoyment I had in 2012, doesn’t give up on that lightly. So that’s why it’s still there as a huge draw.
“There is the fact that I could go out on a gold at my home Olympics. I realistically know I will never top that moment when Anna [Watkins] and I crossed that line.
"The months we had after that of celebration, it will never get better than that realistically. But as an athlete that doesn’t mean you would never do it again because actually it’s a new challenge, it’s a new step and Rio is a different event.
"So there is still enough reason there for me to row but it’s not the only thing I want to do in life and that’s where the problem comes.
“This year out has given me other options. I have done a lot of different things and sparked interest in a lot of different areas, but rowing is still one of those areas so that’s why it is a hard choice.
"I’ve got a lot of interest in the law still and the draw of the courtroom is still there to some extent and I’ve enjoyed the writing I’ve done recently.
"It’s brilliant to have a hard decision but it doesn’t make it any easier which is why I’m taking so long."
But Grainger admits she doesn't miss the training or early morning starts and confirmed her decision could be swayed by whether Watkins, 30, also elects to return to the sport.
"Anna hasn’t made a decision either," she added.
"We’ve both talked about it and if we both wanted to come back and were both really keen then it would make sense for us to join forces again because what we had before was so good.
"Both of us are in different places and I think we really respect the choices for each other; we would never put pressure on each other, so we will make the overall decision independently.
"However, if we both think it’s what we want to do then it would make sense to come back together."
© Sportsbeat 2013