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Gregory: Motivation's lacking after London

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 21, 2012

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CALLOUSES and scars mark the hands of Olympic Champion Alex Gregory, and they will not have much of a chance to heal before the Cheltenham-born oarsman rows for gold at Rio in four years' time.

After taking a well-deserved rest following his London 2012 exertions, Gregory and the rest of the Team GB squad have been gradually returning to their punishing training schedule.

Gregory admits that returning to action after his longest break from a boat for 13 years has been tough on the hands, body but most of all the mind.

Having achieved his life's ambition when striking gold at London 2012 – and after dedicating so much time and mental energy to doing just that – he is struggling to look ahead.

Speaking at this week's Gloucestershire Media Sports Awards with his gold medal at his side, Gregory was refreshingly honest when saying that training has been a struggle.

"It's a different motivation now and to be honest I've not found that yet," he admitted.

"I was always going to carry on rowing and I am still fairly young in the sport. It was never a question of stopping, but it's going to be a very different type of motivation from now on.

"It was really, really easy to motivate myself to get that first Olympic gold and to get it on home ground as well.

"But now it's not as simple as just wanting it again. I am going to have to find some reserves from deep down to want something that much again."

But if the former Richard Pate Primary and Bredon Hill Middle School pupil is struggling for that all important motivation he has a wealth of people who can help him.

London crew-mates Andy Hodge, Tom James and county compatriot Pete Reed all scooped their second gold medal at London 2012, while coach Jurgen Grobler has plotted successful Olympic campaigns for over 40 years.

Gregory said that he has had a long chat with Team GB's German coaching mastermind in the past few days as he was keen to know what kept him coming back for more.

"I have been talking to Jurgen a lot about motivation and about what spurs him to keep coming back," Gregory said.

"For him it's all about helping other people to repeat their successes and I guess that it's the same thing for us.

"It's actually very easy to do it once, but it's far from easy to keep doing it again and again.

"Pete, Tom and Andy have all done it twice and I will certainly be using their experiences and asking them for advice.

"I know the slate has been wiped clean and there is a group of really talented guys who have replaced the guys who have retired.

"There's people like me who are staying on and striving for that same success and are really enthusiastic about their training.

"So I know that I have got to get back and motivate myself to do better in everything that I do to save my seat.

"Jurgen always says that there are no names on seats and there won't be for some time yet. So we all have to prove ourselves all over again."

And if the 28-year-old does ever see his motivation flagging he has the perfect antidote lying in wait at home in three-year-old son Jasper.

Gregory said that handing his son his London medal was without doubt the proudest moment of his Olympic adventure, even if it was met with a humorous rebuff.

But he also said that with Jasper sure to remember Rio more than he will London, Gregory is doubly keen his son has more golden moments to cherish – even if the first one didn't go down too well at the time.

Gregory said: "Half an hour after I was awarded the medal I passed it over to him – It was the proudest moment ever for a father to give that to my son.

"But he looked at it and said, 'that's not chocolate' and he threw it straight on the floor.

"But seriously, looking ahead it will be a big motivation to go to Rio knowing that he'll be old enough to know what's going on.

"It's an immensely proud moment for me to hand my medal over to him, and for him to take it in to school for show and tell and for him be proud of his dad.

"But he'll remember Rio. He won't remember much of London and that will definitely be a motivation for me going forward."

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