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Monday, 16 October, 2000, 20:08 GMT 21:08 UK
Rowing duo contemplate future
Tim Foster and Matthew Pinsent
Tim Foster and Matthew Pinsent
by Sport Online's Sanjeev Shetty

Matthew Pinsent and Tim Foster have been keeping themselves busy since returning from Sydney - busy doing nothing.

In this case, 'nothing' means doing very little rowing and doing a lot of catching up on life - the sort of things that people do every day when they are not committed to a rowing career which demands some real dedication.

But as their colleague Steve Redgrave contemplates his future and whether a sixth gold medal is a possibility, the duo have to start considering their own and whether, for one reason or another, it is wise to continue.

For Pinsent, the good life will continue for just a bit longer.

"I'm enjoying the period of holiday and the break from training and not getting out of bed too early in the morning. And the longer I can keep myself in that position, the happier I'll be, at least for a couple of weeks," said the triple gold medallist.

"But I've already said that I'm 70-30 in favour of carrying on."

Clarity

But it is obvious that there is not absolute clarity in Pinsent's mind. For a start, he freely admits to not knowing what he would do if he wasn't rowing. So perhaps the thought of a fourth gold medal will occupy him for the next four years.

"I've spent 10 years competing at the top level and won three Olympic gold medals in that time, so it's not been a bad run. And I've got the opportunity to continue.

"The other side is that it's the same thing again. Sydney was a fantastic experience but Athens for one reason or another may not be such a good experience either for the Olympics itself or the reception when you get home."

Having been a witness to Pinsent's homecoming at Heathrow a fortnight ago, I can testify that he definitely enjoys the adulation that he so definitely deserves. The question is, will he strive for more?


Sydney was a fantastic experience but Athens for one reason or another may not be such a good experience either for the Olympics itself or the reception when you get home.
  Matthew Pinsent

"There may be a risk element in carrying on. I'm 30 years so the age factor becomes an issue. Steve has obviously gone on to 38 and has proved you can do it but has also proved it is very hard. So there are pluses and minuses. so I'm trying to delay the decision for as long as possible."

For Foster, there are no mental problems to concern himself with, but the question of his own health.

"Over the next two weeks, I'll need to get an MRI scan on my back so that I can get an idea of the damage I'm doing to my back on a day-to-day basis that maybe I don't know about at the moment.

Normal things

"If I do carry on I want to know that I have a clean bill of health, because I want to carry on and win another a gold medal. Essentially if that sacrifices my ability to do normal things in 10 years' time - its not worth that much. My decision will be made over the next few weeks. Mentally I would love to do it again."

Both rowers admit that their own decisions will not necessarily mean the continuation of the coxless four with Redgrave and James Cracknell that triumphed in Sydney just a few weeks ago.

That race gave the country a collective sense of joy and Pinsent's decision to continue may also be influenced by that.

"It's been a fantastic experience being part of something that gripped the nation. You know, I've sat on the other side of television watching football, cricket, motor-racing or whatever and I've been totally gripped and to feel that it was us doing it to the nation is an amazing feeling."

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See also:

03 Oct 00 |  Olympics2000
Golden boys talk to Sport Online
03 Oct 00 |  Team GB
Heathrow homecoming
03 Oct 00 |  Team GB
Golden stars come home on a high
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