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Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Monday, 23 June 2008 17:30 UK

Rowers will ignore past glories

Tom James
James returned to the coxless fours last weekend after a back injury

Great Britain rower Tom James says the current coxless four won't be rowing in the wake of Redgrave and Pinsent when they hit the water in the Olympics.

James, from Wrexham, said he and his fellow rowers will just concentrate on winning the race and forget about Sir Steven and Sir Matthew's past glories.

"There is that history within the four but at the end of the day it's our four," he said.

The 24-year-old is due to take up the four's bow seat in the Beijing games.

Steven Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent are Olympic legends after winning nine gold medals between them during their joint and respective rowing careers.

Redgrave won a record five golds at five different Olympics between 1984 and 2000 with Pinsent winning his fourth in Athens in 2004.

During their era they helped move rowing into the mainstream as one of the nation's most successful Olympic sports with the duo knighted for their achievements on the water.

Great Britain coxless fours - left to right Andrew Hodge, Peter Reed, Tom James and Steve Williams
The coxless fours say they won't be daunted by Britain's past rowing glories

The most recent GB success came last September when the national rowing team topped the overall medal table at the World Championships in Munich by winning 11 medals.

But James said their historic record will not faze the coxless four boat he is part of alongside Steve Williams, Peter Reed and Andy Hodge.

"When you get to the Olympic final it doesn't matter about the history who's been in it - Pinsent and Redgrave that sort of history - it's anyone's race," said James.

"It's a massive event. The men's fours has been the top race at the last Olympics and it's got an awesome reputation in GB of dominating throughout the Olympiad.

"But you've just got to keep it simple. It's our project at the moment and let the team management and the head coaches worry about everything outside it.

"Obviously, it would be nice to win. We've got very high expectations of what we can achieve as a boat and that's certainly what we're aiming for when we get to Beijing."

James returned from a back injury to take his place in the fours at the World Cup event in Poland last weekend helping the team to silver.

He explained how it "touch and go" whether he made it into the team but after showing he over his injury he should now make it into the Olympic boat in Beijing.

Sir Matthew Pinsent
Pinsent says the current coxless fours are one of the favourites in Beijing

The team are now due to take to Austria for a three week training before returning the Great Britain base at Caversham in Reading to fine tune their fitness in the run up to the finals in China.

Pinsent himself agrees with James' assessment that the current four will not let anyone else's past record influence them on the water and believes they head off to the games as favourites.

"I think the four that's been going since Athens might have felt it was a bit of a mantle to inherit from the last two games when we won the fours," he explained.

"But they've developed their own confidence, their own way of operating and their own racing tactics.

"They'll be gold medal favourites or joint favourites."




see also
Coxless four lead GB medal haul
11 May 08 |  Rowing
Team GB for Beijing
21 May 08 |  Team GB
Rowing on the BBC
13 May 08 |  Rowing


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