Adam Burgess insists home support can propel him to Olympic gold this summer – even if his family and friends are not allowed in Tokyo, writes Charlie Bennett.
The canoe slalom-ace is seeded fourth in the men’s C1 category and is a genuine medal prospect.
But the 28-year-old only has eyes for the top prize and believes he is arriving at the Games in the best shape of his life.
The Tokyo Olympics will look different from previous Games due to the impact of coronavirus and one of the biggest changes will be the absence of overseas spectators.
Burgess’ family are now cancelling their flights but have put that disappointment to one side and are planning to support him in style from home in Stone, Staffordshire.
And Burgess, grateful for the support back home, believes that could make all the difference.
“The whole nation is behind us and I am always excited on the sofa when I have watched previous Olympics,” said Burgess, who is working with Purplebricks to encourage the nation to get behind Team GB on their journey to Tokyo.
“I hope I don’t make my parents too nervous when they’re watching, and I hope we get to put on a show for everyone and give them something to celebrate after a really tough year.
“In sport, it is much bigger than just us out there performing. There are teams behind us, supporting on the ground there, but it is also everyone around us and the support back home.
“It really does mean so much.”
Burgess was back at Stone & Stafford Canoe Club last week to present a painting to his mum, Carole McGranachan, by mouth artist Henry Fraser as part of the Purplebricks Home Support Campaign.
Ahead of the biggest summer of his life, it was an opportunity for Burgess to recognise those who have helped him live his dream.
“In the early years, I relied so much on my parents. My mum was doing a lot of driving, taking me to rivers across the country, often standing on the riverbank when it was cold and wet,” he added.
“There were some late nights driving back and it is impossible to get to this level without that kind of support.”
Burgess is hoping good things come to those who wait at Tokyo 2020, nearly two years after he was officially selected by Team GB.
However, Burgess’ debut has been 17 years in the making since he watched Campbell Walsh win kayak silver at Athens 2004.
Team GB have become a canoe slalom powerhouse and have won medals at every Games since Sydney 2000 and Burgess thinks he can add to the total.
“I am going there to win, absolutely,” he said.
“Any start-line I get on, I believe I am at that level where on my day, I could win any race. I would be going into this as the fourth seed but I have known for a bit longer than the guys ahead of me that I am going and I hope that will be an advantage on the day.”
Adam Burgess is working with Purplebricks to encourage the nation to get behind Team GB on their journey to Tokyo with the same amazing home support as London 2012. Visit @PurplebricksUK or https://www.purplebricks.co.uk/team-gb