5th Dec, 2016

Children are inspiring Gregory ahead of Rio Olympics

Evesham Editorial 16th Mar, 2016 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

HE MAY have already gone through a previous Olympic cycle and emerged triumphant, but Alex Gregory admits the sacrifices currently being made in the run-up to this summer’s Games will be worth it even more if he can taste success in Rio.

Four years ago Gregory, who learned to row at Evesham Rowing Club, chipped in on the famous Super Saturday by winning gold as part of the men’s four at Eton Dorney.

He has continued to go from strength to strength since the London Games and remains unbeaten on the world stage having won men’s eight gold either side of men’s four glory in 2014.

During the last four years, Gregory has also taken on added responsibilities too with daughter Daisy and second son Jesse coming along in 2013 and January of this year respectively – leading to a juggling act between training and family time.

The next big event that will see rowing take priority is the British trials between March 21-23 as the competition also doubles up as Olympic selection races.

And, while results in training give Gregory reason for optimism ahead of the trials, the 32-year-old admits it is his family which gives him extra drive.

“There’s a little bit more pressure on now I’ve got my third child, another little boy. It just adds another element to my life, but it gives me a lot of motivation,” said Gregory, who also has a six-year-old son called Jasper.

“Leading up to London I had motivation to win and I got a gold medal for myself. That’s what I wanted to do and that’s the goal I set myself.

“Now I have these children who are starting to understand what I do, they watch what I do, they see I go training seven days a week.

“I don’t have a weekend off with them and they ask these questions and wonder why.

“Hopefully in Rio I can show them and they’ll be able to understand what I was doing all this for. This one is for them.

“I think I’m in the position I need to be in and I’m feeling good about things. I’m getting on a bit age-wise now compared to some of these young whippersnappers that are around, but I’m still getting personal bests and producing what I need to produce on the water, so I’m pleased with how the winter has gone.”

Gregory has already been there and done it when it comes to Olympic trials. As well as London 2012, he was also selected as a reserve for Beijing 2008 but was not called upon.

However, the experienced oarsman, who also counts being captain of Leander Club as among his responsibilities, admits the sense of anticipation and excitement is as big as ever again this time around.

“Every year is the same for us, leading up to the World Championships or selection for the World Championships, but Olympic year is something special,” added the Cheltenham-born star.

“There’s something in the air that goes on and there’s a little bit more tension and pressure and I think we put it on ourselves.

“We do so much training but so little racing really. Sometimes it seems ridiculous but we all know why we’re doing it and we’re all prepared to do it.

“We get a lot of support at Leander, everybody is aware that it is a stressful time. It’s important to us all, so just to have a word here or there and to know we can come here and be supported and helped is really important to us.”

Invesco Perpetual is a proud supporter of Leander Club. This is a 14-year relationship built on a shared philosophy and commitment to investing in people, nurturing talent and taking a long-term approach. Some 111 Olympic rowing medals have been won by Leander Club members since 1908.