Birthdate30 Nov 1987
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Athlete of the Month - July 2018
Thirty-year-old British single sculler Vicky Thornley is both an Olympic and World Championship silver medallist. She’s worked her way into the single via the big boats and says that time’s been very valuable. Now she wants a little taste of gold and is getting a little inspiration from a rugby player to do it.
World Rowing: How did you come to take up rowing?
Victoria Thornley: I was discovered through a talent identification search in 2007. They were looking for tall people in a certain age bracket and I hit the criteria. I didn’t know anything about the sport before I went for the testing.
WR: What is it about it that keeps you coming back?
VT: Wanting to find out how good I can be. The search for the elusive perfect stroke delivered over 2000m is addictive!
WR: What is your average week like during the season?
VT: We do more water work in the racing season. We still keep in touch with the ergo but concentrate more on the water. We also continue with weights through the whole year.
WR: How did you find switching from racing the eight and other bigger boats to going it alone in the single?
VT: I have really enjoyed racing in different boat classes, from the largest to the smallest. They all present their individual challenges which I have enjoyed unpicking. The lessons I have learnt from racing with so many great athletes over the years have stood me in great stead to take on the challenge of the single now. I have always loved the single and this Olympiad is the right one to really test how quick I can move it.
WR: What was it like to win an Olympic medal?
VT: Hugely satisfying and emotional. Winning medals at the World Championships is great but it is all about the Olympics. When I finally achieved that silver medal I felt, at last, my hard work up to that point had been rewarded and it was a very special moment standing on the podium.
WR: Do you feel more pressure since winning?
VT: No not really. The biggest pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself. I want to leave the sport knowing I did everything I could, to achieve the best I could, with the opportunities I was given.
WR: What have you been focusing on in your races/training this year?
VT: The second year of the Olympiad has a strong focus on physiology. This year it has been about a big work load to improve strength and endurance.
WR: What is your goal for the rest of this season?
VT: My goal is to win. I have won silver in the last two seasons, so of course I want to do better than that now. But also it is important to me that I enjoy what I am doing. Sport can take turns you don’t expect, so I have learnt that it is important to try and enjoy the journey as much as possible, even on the hard days!
WR: What is your long term goal?
VT: I continued after Rio to go one better in Tokyo.
WR: We know rowing is popular in Britain as whole but what about your home area of Wales specifically?
VT: We have quite a few rowers on the British team from Wales, so as a nation we are well represented. The Welsh people are very passionate about sport, so we feel a lot of support which is great.
WR: How do you relax or spend time when you’re not rowing?
VT: I am a big foodie so cooking for people and eating out I love. I enjoy reading about holistic health as this is a huge passion of mine. Going to the beauty salon and getting my nails done is a regular activity to help me unwind.
WR: Which sports person do you most admire?
VT: Jonny Wilkinson [rugby]. I massively admired his focus and diligence to his sport.