If all goes to plan at Eton Dorney, the Olympic venue for rowing, Katherine Grainger and her sculling partner Anna Watkins should be clutching Britain's first Olympic gold medal in women's rowing.Katherine, 36, who has won three Olympic silver medals at consecutive Games and is Britain's most successful female rower ever, was paired with Anna in 2010. They remain undefeated and are favourites to win the women's double sculls at London 2012.
"It woud be a wonderful fairytale ending, but I have been in sport long enough to know nothing is guaranteed," says Glasgow-born Katherine.The pair took up rowing at university - Katherine at Edinburgh, where she studied law, and Anna at Cambridge, where she studied natural sciences. And despite their commitment to the sport, Anna is studying for a PhD in mathematics, while Katherine is close to completing her PhD, basing her thesis on homicide. That means interviewing psychopathic killers such as Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, but her Olympic bid naturally takes precedence."I am quite pleased I will have something to focus on when the Games are over." She says. "Once they are ended, I am sure I will feel a little bit lost."
Anna, 29, will also be considering her future after the Olympics, whether she would like to match Katherine's four Olympic Games."I have to weigh up several factors," she says, "like how my body is feeling and how much drive I have... and what my husband thinks, I'm married, and a family is something I am definitely thinking about. It would be incredibly difficult to maintain a level of commitment with a young family."
One thing is for sure both women are looking forward to the overwhelming support from the British public in their Olympic bid."There are moments where your energy starts to run dry towards the end of the race and you need to draw on anything you can," says Katherine. "If you have this wall of support encouraging you, it can be very powerful."And if the weather turns nasty "We've been through wind, rain, snow and ice in the last few months, so I think we can handle anything Dorney can throw at us."The women's double sculls starts on 30 July