WatchFit Expert Rebecca Romero might not be the highest profile British Olympic Champion, but this says everything about her natural modesty and lack of desire for the spotlight rather than her sporting achievements.
In fact what she has accomplished makes her a uniquely successful Olympian – not just in Britain but anywhere in the world in the entire history of the Games.
Rebecca is the first British athlete to win Summer Olympic medals in two different sports and the second female in history to achieve this. But whereas Roswitha Krause picked up silver and bronze medals in swimming and handball, Rebecca went one better by winning an Olympic silver for rowing in Athens, then four years later she was Olympic Champion on a bike in the Beijing velodrome.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
She was also World Champion in both rowing and cycling disciplines!
Olympic Champion- Rebecca Romero had an stunning sporting career that, in retirement, also took in Ironman – simply because Rebecca still wanted something to aim for and Ironman suited her perfectly as, by her own admission, she could barely run or swim and had never cycled such a distance.
How typical then that her intended one and only Ironman should result in qualification for the World Championships and the need to do it all over again in Kona, Hawaii!
WatchFit is delighted to count Rebecca among our Expert Contributors and spoke to her about what the Olympics means to her…
What the Olympics means…
“It’s the pinnacle, simple as that. There is nothing else on the planet of such scale in terms of international participation, number of competitors, number of sporting pursuits, media coverage, viewers at the events, watching on TV, there is nothing like it in any other sport or in life generally.
“Since retiring I’ve been able to look back and gain a different perspective. With Athens, every report and every supporter said we “won a silver medal”, but I really felt like we “lost a gold medal” and I said as much at the time, which probably looked a little self-reproaching and rather grumpy!
“But I do still kind of stand by that. We were the most fancied boat and we were there to win. We got our race plan slightly wrong on the day and that made all the difference. At that level you only need a factor to make you 1-2% off your nearest rival and it’s the difference between the top step of the podium and elsewhere.
“Fairly soon after that we beat the Olympic champions to become World Champions which was of course a great achievement and a thrill, but it was not the Olympic gold”.
Out of the boat and onto the bike!
Despite her great talents and accomplishments in a boat, Rebecca was happy to get out of the water and put the oars down. But that was not to be the last of her and the very peak of elite sport…
She stepped from a boat, got on a bike and, within a single Olympic cycle (forgive the pun) became Olympic champion – cementing her unique place in Olympic history.
“After rowing I was talent identified by British Cycling which was pretty proactive in that regard. They looked out for certain types of people and body types and then set about fitting them to the appropriate cycling discipline. It was seriously hard work – I really wasn’t a cyclist previously – but having an ingrained athlete’s mentality and knowing what it took to rise to the top, albeit in a very different sport, gave me a great base from which to try and take this new discipline as far as I could”.
As it happened Rebecca took it as far as it was possible to go – 2 x World Champion titles and of course the Olympic gold medal.
“The Olympics is ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. It transcends pretty much all else and is quite magical. It is the standard by which so many sports are measured and it brings together the sporting world like nothing else. I will be glued to it like most people over the coming weeks.
“To have been part of that, to have won medals and to have made a bit of history is something I’m proud of and will always hold very close to my heart…even that silver!”
Hope you enjoyed this article on Olympic Champion Rebecca Romero
You can contact Rebecca here through her profile page. She is available for coaching as well as motivational talks to schools, clubs, societies and businesses.
Connect here with WatchFit Expert Rebecca Romero