KATHERINE GRAINGER insists she won’t be rushed into deciding her future plans despite all roads seemingly pointing to retirement after her London 2012 gold medal.
Former Edinburgh University student Grainger was arguably the most popular gold medal winner amongst the GB squad, having endured the agony of three consecutive silver medals in the previous three Games.
With rowing not part of the Commonwealth Games in 2014 Grainger will be denied her chance to say goodbye on home soil in Glasgow. And, at 36, the Rio Games in four years will be a step too far, leaving Grainger seemingly at a crossroads – not that she’s fretting about it.
With a PhD in criminology to complete she said: “It’s a shame they don’t have rowing at the Commonwealth Games, they sometimes do but it’s an optional sport and it’s not going to be in Glasgow. That would have been great to compete in.”
“My next project is to finish my doctorate so that is what I’m focusing on for the next six months. It’s 100,000 words long. I’ve written about 90 per cent of it but there’s all the tying together at the end. But it’s quite nice to have something to go back and focus on, a new project to take up my attention.
“I don’t want to get into academics in the future, but law was something I was definitely considering, and with all this sporting experience and knowledge it feels like a shame to waste that as well, so there’s no obvious route for me. Lots of sports people don’t know what they’re going to do next so it suits me fine.”
Ending those 12 years of pain was an emotional moment, both for Grainger and Watkins – one she admits she’s still struggling to compute.
“I do miss going out and rowing in our boat already, what I have with Anna is really special so it is hard to imagine us never going out in it again. We’re talking to each other about it but we have not quite got to the emotional stage of realising what you have done,” added Grainger, who is a Bank of Scotland ambassador for London 2012.
“For Anna and I it was really important that we made it as familiar as possible, we knew it was the final of the home Games with millions of people watching, but if we looked at all that too closely it would have been overwhelming.”
• Bank of Scotland is a Proud Partner for Scotland of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. Find out more at www.bankofscotlandlondon2012.co.uk