Double Olympic gold medallist Pete Reed has committed himself to four more years to the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro and now has to persuade his long-term partner Andy Triggs Hodge to do the same in a bid to become the third most successful British Olympic rower of all time behind Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent.
The 32-year-old member of the gold medal-winning men’s fours crew, who defended successfully at Eton Dorney lake their title won at the Beijing Games in 2008, will be 36 years old by the time he plans to race in Brazil , but his experience last week of striking gold for a second time has left him wanting more.
And the fact that he and Hodge were transferred from a pair into the four after three successive world championship defeats by a New Zealand pair who went on to win Olympic gold too last week has proved to be the right move.
“I certainly want to go on to Rio ,” Reed confirmed from the London 2012 Megastore in Hyde Park “I haven’t spoken to Andy at length about this and I know he’s erming and ahing but I have to be selfish and I really want to carry on.
“Losing in the pairs for three years to the New Zealanders made us better athletes. If we’d gone straight into the fours then for the first three years we may have had relatively easy wins but I’m sure it would have ended up with an Olympic silver medal and all that time would have been wasted. There would have been some complacency, for sure.
“Instead we got into the four and broke the world record in our second regatta by miles. We wouldn’t have done that if we hadn’t learned about rowing and our physiology.
“People think we gave up on the pairs. We didn’t. We made the decision to maximise our chances and no-one can criticise us for that. I won’t pretend I’m happy with the three world silvers I’ve got from racing in the pair. I’m not. But I would have given up every world medal for another Olympic gold and that’s what I’ve got. Credit to the New Zealand pair, they’ve got their Olympic medal, but so have I so it’s a happy ending.”
Quite what format Reed races in next, and with who, remains to be seen.
“We’ll have to see what the next year brings. It could be a pair with Hodgy, or maybe Alex Gregory, it could be a four, or even an eight. I’m certainly not scared of the pair. I think I proved that by racing in it for three years but the options are many including the right to defend my fours title for a third gold.”
The ultimate decision will be down to head coach Jurgen Grobler, a man Reed rates as the greatest coach in the world in any sport.
“Jurgen is a genius,” he added. “His success is ridiculous. He’s maybe the best coach in the world in any sport. There’s no luck in rowing. You’d be a fool not to do exactly what he tells you to.”
And his admiration for the demands of rowing means Reed also labels Redgrave as the all-time greatest Olympian.
“I don’t think anyone will ever get five Olympic gold medals in five successive Games ever again,” he insisted. “Chris Hoy’s feat cannot be compared. I’m not taking anything away from Chris. He’s a machine. But to do a strength endurance sport over 25 years if you include the run-up to 1984 is crazy. I’ve done ten and I’m going to do another four but I can’t imagine another ten on top of that. Redgrave is the greatest of all time, in any sport, from any country.”