Redgrave 'better than ever' at 38 as pressure grows

Steve Redgrave is confident of winning a gold medal at a fifth consecutive Olympic Games in September despite his coxless four's two surprise defeats at the World Cup meeting in Lucerne.

Steve Redgrave is confident of winning a gold medal at a fifth consecutive Olympic Games in September despite his coxless four's two surprise defeats at the World Cup meeting in Lucerne.

The crew - Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent, Tim Foster and James Cracknell - had not lost together since 1997 until they finished a tenth of a second behind New Zealand in the Lucerne semi-final 11 days ago. In the following day's final they finished a distant fourth behind Italy, New Zealand and Australia.

"Those defeats were our fault because we've dominated so much that other crews have had to improve to come up to our level," Redgrave said yesterday. "Lucerne proved that winning is not a formality," added the most successful British Olympian in history. "We've known that all along but it's been a bit of an eye-opener for a lot of other people. It proves that we don't just have to turn up to win, that it takes a lot of hard work."

Redgrave, who was speaking after the announcement of the British rowing team for Sydney, added that the defeats had not negatively affected morale. "It's never nice to lose," he said. "As a crew we were a little bit stunned as we crossed the line and realised we hadn't done ourselves justice. But overall we've had a pretty good season. Our first objective was to win the World Cup and we did, winning at two of the three meetings in the series. Our second was to win at Henley and we did. Out third was to win every single race and we didn't quite achieve that."

Asked if he felt that his age - 38 - might be catching up with him, and that he might no longer be the unbeatable force he appeared to be when taking his previous four Olympic golds (with the coxed four in 1984 and in the coxless pair in 1988, 1992 and 1996) he paused before replying, quite deliberately: "I don't think I am as good as I was at the last four Olympics." He paused again for dramatic effect before adding: "I'm better. Mentally I'm stronger and also physiologically I'm testing better than I have during the last four years."

Redgrave's crew-mates echoed his confidence and suggested that the Lucerne defeats - especially the margin of the final loss - had been almost too uncharacteristic to be worried about. "I know the opposition looked at us, six to eight seconds behind, and realised that maybe we weren't trying," Foster said. "Once the chance of winning had gone the fight for a bronze was not the same as the fight for gold," he added.

"The crews that beat us did nothing we aren't capable of doing," Pinsent said. "We gave a bad performance, they did not come up with an exceptionally good one. Yesterday we had a team meeting that was as useful as any we've had in the last four years. We just said 'Let's not sit here panicking. We've already proved we're quick enough to beat the Italians, the Australians and New Zealand'."

Cracknell, who left Lucerne with a gold despite defeat in the coxless four - he was called on as a last-minute replacement in the winning eight - was even more succinct in his appraisal. "We're the best four athletes in the whole field," he said.

Of the nine other British crews besides the coxless four, the one expected to do best is the eight. "I'd be disappointed if we didn't come back with a gold medal now," the cox, Rowley Douglas, said. "We have a very realistic chance of getting a gold medal and we've showed that we can keep lifting our performance to do it."

GREAT BRITAIN OLYMPIC SQUAD

MEN

Single scull: M Wells (Univ of London BC).

Coxless pair: G Searle (Molesey BC), E Coode (Queen's Tower BC).

Lightweight double scull: T Kay (Notts County RA), T Male (Tideway Scullers School).

Coxless four: J Cracknell, S Redgrave, T Foster, M Pinsent (all Leander Club).

Eight: A Lindsay (Queen's Tower BC), B Hunt-Davis (Leander Club), S Dennis (Leander Club), L Attrill (Queen's Tower BC), L Grubor (Queen's Tower BC), K West (Cambridge Univ BC), F Scarlett (Leander Club), S Trapmore (Notts County RA), R Douglas (cox,Oxford Brookes Univ BC).

WOMEN

Single scull: A Mowbray (Thames RC).

Coxless pair: D Blackie (Thames RC), C Bishop (Marlow RC).

Double scull: F Houghton (Univ of London Women's BC), G Lindsay (Marlow RC)

Quadruple scull: G Batten (Thames RC), S Winckless (Walbrook & Royal Canoe Club), K Grainger (St Andrew BC), M Batten (Thames RC).

Eight: R Carroll (Notts County RA), A Sanders (City of Sheffield RC), K MacKenzie (Thames RC), A Beever (Queen's Tower BC), L Eyre (Marlow RC), A Trickey (Queen's Tower BC), F Zino (Queen's Tower BC), E Laverick (Thames RC), C Miller (cox, London RC).

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015