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Past Glory
Listen to Steve Redgrave winning his last four medals
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Tim Foster
"I want to win that gold in Sydney more now than I ever have"
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Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 19:36 GMT 20:36 UK
Foster's struggle to reach Sydney
Oarsome: The video diaries offer a candid insight
Oarsome: The video diaries offer a candid insight
Against all odds, Tim Foster was arguably the star of the BBC's recent documentary Gold Fever.

Fellow coxless four members Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent were the household names, and James Cracknell the youngest member of one of British sport's best teams.

But the long-haired Foster proved that, certainly at times, blondes definitely have more fun, even if partying can cost you months out of the sport if it involves injuring your hand on a window.

At other times Foster also came across as the most fragile of the squad, even if he ultimately proved himself one of its most determined members.

Viewers also got the impression that through the dark days of his serious back injury he turned to the video diary more than any other member of the quartet.

The camera seemed to record every day of a nightmare year which saw first the hand injury, then the clear disapproval of his team-mates and after all that a far more serious problem.

Tim Foster
Foster: Faced strong competition
Foster underwent surgery on his spine in November 1998 and then found his path back into the boat blocked by his replacement, rising star Ed Coode.

The fact that the new injury was caused by rowing and not by a night's recreation did not make it any better as it threatened to prevent him competing at the Olympics.

He told his video diary that he feared for his rowing future after he had a disc removed.

While he was recuperating Coode took his place in the quartet and endangered his place in the crew.

When Foster's hand injury kept him out of a World Cup race in May 1998 the crew failed to cope with his loss and came fourth at Munich.

It was Matthew Pinsent's and Redgrave's first defeat in any race for eight years.

But Coode proved a hit with team coach Jurgen Grobler and the revamped four contested the opening dates of the 1999 World Cup season with a fit-again Foster consigned to the eights.

The quartet won their World Cup races and Foster helped the eight to better-than-expected results.

  Foster's ups and downs
Born: 19/01/70
1997: Selected to join the four
1998: Injures hand at party
Later the same year: Has to undergo back surgery and cannot walk for weeks
1999: Denied return to the four by Ed Coode he helps Britain's eight crew to silver medal at world championships
2000: Back in the four for his Olympic dream
Foster insisted he was not content to languish in the eight when he felt the best boat is the four and held showdown talks with Grobler.

But the German coach demanded that Foster stay with the eight, saying he was too important to the crew.

The younger, less-experienced Coode retained his place, much to the disappointment of Foster.

"I don't really see the eight as a long-term option. It's not what I'm aiming at," Foster admitted on the documentary.

"If I'm not rowing in the four I don't know whether I want to do it," he added at the time.

The third part of Gold Fever showed how Foster got back his place in the boat - partly thanks to his stubbornness but also because he did not refuse to go in the eight.

The outcome was good for British rowing since it has allowed Coode to have a fine Olympic debut as part of a new coxless pair in the process.

Redgrave, Pinsent and Cracknell were delighted to have Foster back because he is regarded as the best member of the team when it comes to rowing technique, if not brute strength.

He keeps the others' power in check, maintaining a metronomic pace in the water, and ensuring that, most of the time, the four remain unbeatable.

In fact so good is Foster that Grobler admitted during the programme that the record-breaker Redgrave's place on the same side of the boat was by no means guaranteed if Foster and Coode proved the better options.

Thankfully for Foster, and the whole British rowing effort, that did not prove necessary, and the results are there for all to see in Sydney.

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The story of glory


Gold Fever: The documentary

The quartet

See also:

07 Aug 00 |  Other Sports
Redgrave considered throwing in towel
16 Jul 00 |  Other Sports
Redgrave's crew suffer final defeat
14 Jul 00 |  Other Sports
Pinsent slams Lucerne Regatta
15 Jul 00 |  Other Sports
Brits lose out in semis
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