New stars for Great Britain’s Olympic squad
Rowing has consistently been one of Great Britain’s top performing sports at the Olympic Games in recent years.
After London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, rowing received more of a boost. With that the team is at its biggest since Olympic qualification became a requirement.
Great Britain take a team of 43 rowers to Beijing competing in 12 of the 14 events (the men’s pair is still to be named). But they will be without their big stars. The names Redgrave, Pinsent and Cracknell will be nowhere in sight. Despite this the turnout at the team launch last week was the biggest that British rowing has seen.
Fronting up for Great Britain will be their most successful Olympic female rower, Katherine Grainger. As part of the reigning World Champion quad, Grainger will be hoping – along with crewmates Annie Vernon, Debbie Flood and Frances Houghton – to make history by being the first British female crew to win gold.
Sitting in the stroke seat of the men’s flagship boat, the four, is Andy Hodge. He carries the mantel of trying to defend the Olympic Champion title that has been won by Great Britain at the last two Olympic Games. Injuries and crew changes this season, however, have taken them out of the top spot more than once. The crew also includes Tom James, Steve Williams (2004 Olympic Champion), and Peter Reed.
If World Cup gold this season is anything to go by, Great Britain will also have medal chances in the men’s single (Alan Campbell), men’s double (Matthew Wells and Stephen Rowbotham), lightweight men’s double (Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter), women’s double (Elise Laverick and Anna Bebington) and the men’s eight (Alex Partridge, Tom Stallard, Tom Lucy, Richard Egington, Josh West, Alastair Heathcote, Matt Langridge, Colin Smith and coxswain Acer Nethercott).
"The Olympic Games bring out the best in every athlete whatever the sport", said GB Performance Director David Tanner in GB Rowing’s press release.
"Everyone will be trying to peak at the right time on the right day, including the Chinese hosts who have emerged in the last four years to be a formidable force in our sport. We go to Beijing confident but aware of the size of the task ahead".
For a detailed list of qualified crews, click here.