Golden legacy inspires rower Gregory

30 July 2012 / 08:28

Alex Gregory will make his Olympic debut on Monday, inspired by the opportunity to continue Great Britain's golden legacy in the men's coxless four.

Britain have dominated the event since Sir Steve Redgrave won his fifth gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Games and they are chasing a fourth consecutive Olympic title. Andrew Triggs Hodge, Tom James and Pete Reed were members of the victorious crew from Beijing in 2008, while Gregory was part of last year's world championship-winning crew.

While some would feel the pressure, Gregory is spurred on by that weight of history. "I am aware of the history and that is a really good thing," Gregory said. "It is inspirational - and it gives me confidence that, as a coach, Jurgen Grobler has got crews to gold medals in the past."

He added: "You can't rely on that but it is in the back of our minds. It is an honour to be in the position I am in and I really hope I can continue the legacy. It gives me motivation."

Australia pose the biggest threat to Great Britain, having beaten them twice at the last World Cup regatta in Munich.

Britain set the world's fastest time in Lucerne earlier this summer and their decision to try a new seat order in Munich, in the hope of unlocking even more speed, did not work.

Gregory believes that defeat could prove to be a blessing in disguise for the British crew, who have returned to the seat order that brought such success in Lucerne.

"I think losing in Munich was a really good thing for us because it forced us to try and work on our technique. It has really given us focus," Gregory said.

In contrast to Gregory, when Katherine Grainger sits on the start line of her double sculls heat she will not be considering the past. Grainger has won three Olympic silver medals but is now part of a world champion double scull with Anna Watkins that is unbeaten in 21 races.

"I won't sitting on the start line thinking 'Beijing is my motivation'," Grainger said. "It is very much part of my history. As an athlete all those moments - whether successful, unsuccessful, disappointing or euphoric - they all become part of you and part of your journey."