The role of leadership is not for everyone but, with the 2017 World Rowing Championships now just a stone’s throw away, Tom Ransley is not one for shirking the responsibility.
The Olympic champion goes into the men’s eight very much as leader of the pack, in the boat that took him all the way to gold-medal glory in Rio last year.
But with a trip to Sarasota, Florida, on the mind and a first World Championships of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle no less, this is not a moment for laurels to be rested on.
Ransley is part of a 64-strong squad going to the States between September 24 and October 1, including four gold-medal athletes and 14 Olympians in total.
And with new names aplenty in the men’s eight squad, the 32-year-old takes with him experience in abundance after his promotion from the ranks – a challenge he is keen to get his teeth stuck into.
“There’s something nice about being able to push a project forward at the start of an Olympic cycle,” he said. “You’ve got four years to try and build up a boat and make sure you’re doing the right things at the right time.
“It comes with its challenges, communicating clearly and making sure we use the lessons of the past, but it’s as much about listening as it is talking.
“There are a lot of different strengths people can bring to the crew, it’s about making sure we can get that across moving forward, and for people to feel like they can share these ideas.
“You have to make your own story, set your own agenda as a crew with your own identity, so I want to take my experiences from Rio and put them into this boat as much as I can.
“We’re very performance and goal-orientated, at the end of the day we love racing and we have to make sure we realise that the past is the past, just because you won then doesn’t mean you will do again immediately.”
Despite all his desire to spend as much time in the boat as possible, other circumstances have ensured that that has not always been a possibility for Ransley.
That was notably via a broken collarbone from an awkward fall while running last year, while an appendectomy was also required earlier this year.
Those knocks had put these World Championships in doubt, but with the bumps and bruises now healed, a chance to take on the world stage as an Olympic champion for the first time is not something the Ashford rower wants to pass up any time soon.
“It’s been a tough few months, I had the appendectomy which caused some adversity, but it’s not something that’s uncommon when it comes to injury,” he added.
“We’ve managed to work well with the wider team, had some rehab and I was quite quickly back into training after surgery so I feel quite good now.
“I was always confident of being back for this, we knew that if we managed it well then I’d be able to maintain the fitness levels, it wasn’t pleasant and was challenging but that’s what you have to go through.”
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