Olympic Games - James: Aussie defeat made Britain's rowers stronger

Tue, 24 Jul 08:55:00 2012

Tom James insists his bid to defend his Olympic rowing title at London 2012 has been aided, not hindered, by a World Cup setback last month.

Matthew Langridge, Richard Egington, Tom James and Alex Gregory of Britain compete during the Men's Four final at the World Rowing Championships in Bled (Reuters) - 0

James and the men's four squad headed to Munich for their final World Cup regatta last month with a pair of gold medals to their names from their opening forays on the global stage.

However, the Australian quartet exposed a chink in the GB squad's armour in Germany by forcing them to settle for silver.

Such is the class of the Aussies, five-time Olympic gold medallist Steve Redgrave insisted post-race that he wasn't surprised the old enemy had come out on top.

But James insists the squad have found plenty of positives and opportunities for improvement in defeat - and he plans on putting them to good use in the capital.

"The World Cup series was both a setback and motivation," he said. "You can say ok we lost and panic, but we haven't. We have addressed things, taken things part and looked at different angles. 

"We've been doing a lot of good things. We've got good speed, and we experimented a bit in the races too, and we learnt an awful lot in that weekend in Munich.

"As long as we keep learning, and recognise we made mistakes, and then correct them, and that we make sure over the next few weeks that we've got confidence in knowing how to win races, then that's the correct thing to do.

"No one likes losing races, but it is better it happened in Munich. And the margins were quite close, we know we're capable of winning a gold medal, but we've got to make sure we address some problems."

James and co's Olympic ambitions look set then for a nail-biting conclusion in the men's four final on August 4.

But while a home Games throws up a unique pressure, greater even than the Beijing Olympic final, James is adamant he'll treat the occasion with the blueprint for success he has had since his teens.

"With a race like Beijing I learned an awful lot from that and it's quite hard when it's an OIympic final," he added. "You kind of feel there's a lot of expectation from yourself to have a perfect race and make sure everything goes to plan.

"But the trick is that you've got to beat the opposition that's out there, that's all you can do. You don't need the perfect race, you just need to be consistent.

"You need to have a good race, but it's about getting the solid basics right, especially in rowing, where there's so many variables.

"You've got four people in a boat and all four of you have got to peak at the same time, and that gives you a bit more focus about how to approach the race.

"We win an Olympic final the same way we won a race when I was 14 or 15 years old. You've got to race faster than the other teams, and it doesn't get more complicated than that."

Sportsbeat / Sportsbeat

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