Katherine Grainger to continue competing at the highest level from 2009 onwards
Three times Olympic rowing medallist and reigning world champion Katherine Grainger talked today of the passion and excitement she feels for her sport and which helped her reach a decision to continue competing at the highest level from 2009 onwards.
Immediately after her final in Beijing – in which she won silver in the women’s quadruple scull with Fran Houghton, Debbie Flood and Annie Vernon – the 33 year-old Scot, said she “probably knew that it wouldn’t be the last time I raced”.
However Grainger wanted time and distance to consider her final decision before banishing any thought of imminent retirement.
Grainger took up rowing at Edinburgh University in 1993 and has already enjoyed a remarkable rowing career. She was part of the women’s quadruple scull at Sydney 2000 which took Britain’s first women’s rowing Olympic medal of all-time and she won silver once more in Athens in a women’s pair with Cath Bishop in 2004.
She has an unbroken record as a world champion since 2003, having made her international senior debut in 1997 a year in which she soon won a seat in the women’s eight which broke new ground by winning bronze at the senior world championships – the first medal for a GB women’s eight at this level.
Grainger admits that the decision to continue was ultimately “difficult” despite her initial thoughts in Beijing. “I have spoken to various important people in my life and in sport about this decision and the effect it will have on my whole life. I had to feel that I could improve and continue with enjoyment.
“I still have the same enjoyment and passion but I will also be looking to create a more balanced life. I feel excited about this continuing yet, in some ways, new challenge”.
Since 2005 Grainger has been part of the Camelot-sponsored women’s quadruple scull. However, with Fran Houghton and Debbie Flood currently taking a break from the sport and Annie Vernon undecided about her future, it looks as if Grainger’s new challenge in the shorter term may include a completely new boat and crew.
“It is great that Katherine has decided to continue in Rowing”, said GB Performance Director, David Tanner today. “She is our leading female rower and I am confident that she can both deliver for herself and be an inspiration to less experienced athletes on the Olympic pathway.”
Meanwhile Grainger, who was made an MBE for services to sport in 2006, was also invited to become a Henley Royal Regatta Steward earlier this week.