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Page last updated at 10:02 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 11:02 UK

Brits to watch: Katherine Grainger

Grainger in the stroke seat of the quad, winning silver with Cath Bishop in 2004 and at the recent team kitting-out

By Martin Gough

Kath Grainger has set her sights on leading Great Britain to their first women's Olympic rowing gold medal in her third, and probably final, appearance at the Games.

"Olympic gold is the only one missing from the set," she said.

Scot Grainger was part of the quadruple scull that won GB's first women's Olympic rowing medal of any colour, silver in Sydney eight years ago, and she repeated the feat four years ago in a pair with Cath Bishop.

Since then she has been back in the quad, winning the last three World Championships, and she lines up in Beijing alongside Frances Houghton, Debbie Flood and Annie Vernon with a good chance of gold.

FACTS & STATS

Born: 12 November 1975, Glasgow
Trains: Reading, Marlow
Career highlights: Olympic silver medals in 2000 (W4x), 2004 (W2-); World Championship golds in 2007 (W4x), 2006 (W4x), 2005 (W4x), 2003 (W2-)

PATH TO THE PODIUM

Kath Grainger talks to Olympic Dreams

2008 form: After dominating the World Cup scene for the last four years, Grainger's quad had a mixed season, winning the opening regatta in Munich and finishing third in Lucerne. They were forced to miss the final regatta in Poland because of lack of opposition and instead raced men's club crews in the UK.

Rivals: China, who won in Lucerne in their only World Cup regatta this year, will be the major threat, with the USA and Germany also lurking.

How she could win: The quad's method is simple - get out in front early, find a smooth rhythm to build on that advantage, then do just enough in the last 500m to weather late surges from their rivals.

What she says: "We're better primed than we've ever been. It's going to be really tough - everybody wants the gold medal - but that's the level we're aiming at."

What you say: "The women's quad seem to represent our best chance of gold, the first ever by GB women. Katherine is a fine ambassador for that crew and her commitment and longevity speak volumes about her."
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Sporting high: Those two Olympic silver medals. "I'm hugely proud of them both and everything that they've meant to me," she says.

Sporting low: Being beaten into second place in the 2006 World Championship final on home water, at Dorney Lake in Eton. Winners Russia were subsequently disqualified after a failed doping test and GB were given gold but the tearful podium appearance could not be erased.

In action: Sunday 10 Aug 0930 BST, Sunday 17 Aug 0930 BST
Grainger and Co will be aiming to win their heat to qualify direct for the final the following Sunday and avoid having to race in the repechage on Tuesday 12 August.

AWAY FROM ROWING

Jigsaw victory for rowing team

Team ethic: Grainger and her three companions are constantly looking for ways to alleviate the boredom when training away from home and recently completed a 18,000-piece jigsaw that they had carried around between them for the last three years.

Most likely to: Be found studying something legal. Grainger has a law degree from Edinburgh University, a Master of Philosophy degree in Medical Law from Glasgow University and is currently studying for a PhD in law, focusing on homicide, at King's College London, although she has taken time off in Olympic year.

Did you know? Grainger has a black belt in karate, gained while at school, Bearsden Academy in Glasgow.


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