Team GB Exclusive: Nash eager to make more history in Rio

George Nash admits he feels the weight of history and responsibility on his shoulders as he prepares for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Nash will join Alex Gregory, Mohamed Sbihi and Constantine Louloudis in a new-look British rowing men’s four - a boat for whom tradition dictates much is expected.

Ever since Sir Steve Redgrave won the last of his five Olympic medals in Sydney in the event, Team GB have been victorious - a run of four straight Games.

Gregory is the only surviving member of the quartet that claimed gold at London 2012, when he was the new boy in a crew that included three gold medallists from Beijing four years earlier.

Nash, 26, is no stranger to success in his relatively short rowing career, having already won an Olympic medal in the pair, three world titles and a European crown.

But this will be his greatest challenge yet.

The newly-constituted ‘awesome foursome’ won the European title in Germany earlier this year but last year all four members were in the men’s eight that won World Championship gold.

“It’s a massive privilege to be part of his crew, especially with all it’s history,” said Nash.

“We’ve won four on the bounce and to achieve a fifth straight victory would be a dream come true. I grew up watching this crew at the Olympics and thinking it would be the most awesome thing ever to do it myself and now I’ve got that opportunity.

“The four is viewed around the world as the British event. It brings pressure and we will embrace that rather than fear it. I think the rest of the world feels as much pressure to topple us to be honest.

“You could see all that history as a burden but I think we prefer to take confidence from it. We know just a select few athletes have come through this process but they’ve also delivered and that gives you a big boost.”

Nash joined forces with Will Satch to win men’s pair bronze at London 2012 having made his Team GB debut three years earlier at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney, where he won three gold medals.

But he always wanted to force his way into coach Jurgen Grobler’s flagship crew.

“This is the most competitive British men’s squad ever and the internal competition during training has been fierce,” he added.

“You have got to be up to standard every day and you’ve got to treat yourself like the underdog, whatever you’ve achieved previously, and still work like you’ve got to prove yourself.

“We are all friends and we get on extremely well with each other. When you are thrust into this melting pot and spend 49 weeks a year with each other, you need to get on.

“Of course friction happens but it needs to be resolved because you can’t escape that person. We are a big family of brothers and we look out for each other and work hard for each other.”

By James Toney, Sportsbeat

Sportsbeat 2016