Grainger celebrates her 'wedding day' with long-awaited Olympic Gold MedalSubscribe
James Skitt 03 August 2012
In Beijing four years ago, in the immediate aftermath of the Women’s Quadruple Sculls, an exhausted Katherine Grainger tried to summon a wry smile to accompany her quip that she was “always the bridesmaid” – referring to the fact that for the third successive Olympic Games she was again returning home with a silver – the gold medal having once more eluded her.
In one of the most emotional ‘nearly stories’ of the 2008 Olympics, a distraught Grainger and her crewmates – Annie Vernon; Debbie Flood and Frances Houghton were unable to hide their total devastation at having been pipped to an Olympic title in the Quadruple Sculls. They came for gold – they went away (for the third time in Grainger’s case) without.
Today, with an imperious performance in the Women’s Double Sculls with Anna Watkins, and in front of a delirious, 30,000-strong ‘congregation’ at Dorney Lake, Grainger finally realised her ambition of becoming the bride in the most emphatic fashion. She said after, simply: “It was worth the wait.”
Being crowned Olympic Champion is the high point of a glittering career which had until today, been missing just one accolade. Unquestionably Britain’s greatest female rower, in her fourth Olympic Games, Grainger’s journey is one which has reflected the full impact of National Lottery investment – she has been a strong advocate for the impact of Lottery investment, and has been a member of the World Class Programme since October 1997.
She has previously acknowledged the impact of this support: “The biggest difference for me, and probably for most athletes, is that it [National Lottery funding] has enabled me to put my sport first. One of the big changes is that we don’t have to worry about kit or equipment. If you’re starting off on this amazing journey you have to really appreciate it. It hasn’t always been there, it might not always be there in the future, and it’s made us the most successful [rowing] team in the last three Olympics.”
Grainger rightly took centre stage at the rowing venue which has become a fortress for Team GB. All 13 boats qualified for finals, and Grainger & Watkins’ success takes the GB tally to six medals – further outstanding performances were delivered today also came from George Nash and William Satch (bronze), who only came together earlier this year, in the Men’s Pair, and Alan Campbell who delivered bronze in the men’s single sculls.