Grainger enjoying time in limelight

20 August 2012 / 17:05

Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger believes the performance of Great Britain's female rowers at the London Olympics has finally taken them out of the shadow of their male counterparts.

Grainger, 36, had collected silver medals at the previous three Games but finally reached the top step of the podium alongside Anna Watkins as the two claimed gold in the women's double sculls.

Before the London Games there had been no gold success in the Olympics for British women when it came to rowing, whereas the men's team were consistently medalling in Olympic competition.

But following Grainger and Watkins' success, as well as golds for Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hoskins in the lightweight double sculls and the coxless pair of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, the six-time world champion reckons the women have started to make their mark on the sport.

She said: "I think to date, when I arrived in the team a few years ago, it was the men who were performing.

"It was when Steve Redgrave was still around and Matthew Pinsent and they got far more attention because they were far more successful so rightly so.

"We had never had a women's Olympic gold medal in rowing up until 2012 and then we got three, so it really was time for the women to step up and claim their right as at least equal with the men. And it was great to see that happen across the squad.

"We knew through training camps and day-in day-out training together that the women had a great chance to perform at these Games, and people just stepped up to the plate when they were asked."

Grainger had finished second in Beijing, Athens and Sydney but revealed it was joy, and not relief, that sparked her celebrations upon finally winning the top prize, even if it was yet to completely sink in.

"To some extent I felt a little bit of relief but I thought there would be more," she said. "To me it was overwhelming joy and happiness it was such a special achievement."