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026: Dame Katherine Grainger on persistence and resilience

Katherine is Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympic athlete. She won medals at 5 consecutive Olympic games in Sydney (2000), Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016), culminating in gold at our very own home games and a recording breaking fifth medal in Rio. To top off an incredible year, Dame Katherine Grainger was honoured in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List for her services to rowing and charity. Soon after Katherine was appointed Chair of UK Sport. In this interview we reflect upon Katherine’s rowing career and as ever, she is extremely humble, perceptive, honest, thoughtful, driven and resilient. We hope you enjoy the show!

3:17 – Reflecting on the moments before the Sydney Olympic final and the physical and mental preparation Katherine adopted on final’s day.

7:05 – Exploring Katherine’s transition into senior professional sport and senior training as a rower, an incredibly draining period both physically and emotionally. Also having to transition with professional coaching and sports science support with new lottery funding.

8:45 – As a youngster Katherine became a sponge when around others, trying to soak up as much experience and wisdom from anybody around her.

9:30 – Thrown into an unrelentingly physical training programme. Sink or swim moments.

12:30 – The goal to make the podium at the Sydney Olympic games. Any medal would have been deemed a huge success, but the silver might be nice!

15:28 – The benefits of learning from inspirational others such as Steve Redgrave and co. Surround yourself with others who share your dreams.

18:37 – Intimidating your opponent. Beating them before you get on the start line.

21:00 – 3 consecutive World Championship successes in the 4 year lead up to Beijing. Knowing what it takes to win. Losing to the Chinese and not achieving gold in Beijing was a huge disappointment.

27:40 – Responding to the big emotional lull after the disappointment in Beijing.

30:10 – Reflecting on the intensity of the battle, Katherine reflects on the hugely valuable ability to relax in chaos.

31:30 – London 2012. Gold medal winners. Katherine had an amazing partnership with Anna Watkins as a double.

35:05 – It was an immense privilege for Katherine to have taken part in front of a home games crowd, particularly at the peak of her career.

40:50 – Being a part of an amazing team at Team GB. Everyone matters, sharing experiences and the huge highs and lows of this level of involvement.

41:55 – Katherine reflects back on the important others that have played a part in her career and her love for being a part of a team.

44:35 – Katherine would tell her younger self to enjoy and persist with your own journey wherever that takes you. The lessons learned, and the experiences will be hugely valuable.

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