Thomas George, Olympic bronze medallist, fresh from Tokyo in the men’s eights for Great Britain
Laura – first things first, before we get the medal out, we’re back at Henley Royal Regatta. How is it?
Tom – it’s great to be here, I keep joking to people that nature is healing. I think that everyone who loves Henley knows how special it is in the rowing calendar, especially as a sport in what’s been a pretty terrible couple of years, it’s just great to be back.
Laura – some of your Great British team mates are actually out competing, not for you though, I’m sure you’re enjoying a couple glasses of Pimms. How are you feeling post-Tokyo?
Tom – definitely a weird one, there’s a lot of emotions, and having been part of that Covid bubble adds to the intensity of the emotions. To be here now and to be able to enjoy it with friends that I haven’t been able to see for a while has been great. I feel an overwhelming sense of pride at the result when we went into Tokyo to win a medal. We went in maybe wanting more, but when you look at the way the week went, the ups and downs of it and the nature of sport in particular we’re very happy with how it went.
Laura – you’ve got your medal here as well. For those who haven’t seen it, go and YouTube it – after the racing at Henley of course - it was the most stunning race.
Tom – it really was. Just so proud to be part of a race like that, everyone keeps saying to me ‘ah, what a race’, and straight afterwards you don’t really appreciate that, it’s really hard to take yourself outside the race and look back at it. But now the dust has settled I’m really proud to be part of it, you know we set the pace early and maybe we could have hung on in another race but credit to the Kiwis and Germans for fighting back.
Laura – speaking of racing, we’ve got a hot afternoon of action on the water. Your brother is racing!
Tom – yes in 9 minutes time. I’ve never really watched a boat that I’ve been invested in before, I’m normally just at home watching it on YouTube. I was up in the floating Grandstand yesterday, it was horrible. There were a few steering issues here and there, and for me I don’t mind if they lose in a really good race. If they hit the booms it’s going to be like ‘oh no!’, but that’s the kind of things that Henley throws up that’s just totally different to any other Regatta. So hopefully it will go well, they (TBC Racing, USA) are racing Oxford University so it’s going to be a really tight race.
Laura – what do you think Henley means to people, especially for rowers, for athletes, for students it was a missed opportunity last year wasn’t it?
Tom – absolutely, particularly at school level, and people who might never row at Henley again, and they had that taken away from them last year. Obviously this year is a delayed Henley, and it’s been strange, so I think everyone’s just really pleased to be able to come here and compete.