A record breaking season!
As an athlete you push yourself to the absolute limit with that one goal in mind…Gold! And no one knows that better than our very own Matt Langridge. After facing injury AND breaking records this year, 2014 has proved to be Matt’s most difficult yet proudest year so far!
At the start of last season Matt’s worst and most prolonged injury took him out of his usual routine and training programme, out of the races he works tirelessly towards and it even got to a point where he wondered if he’d get to race in the season at all. However, in true athlete style, Matt was not going to let this injury get in the way of achieving his ultimate aim, in fact it has just made him stronger and more ambitious than ever.
After missing the bulk of the usual, hard slog winter training where the team build 70% of their fitness, Matt was finally given the OK to get back in the boat in March and what a comeback he made. Matt joined the eight at the world cup in Aiguebelette, France for his first race where they took Silver!
Matt then joined forces with James Foad to form the Men’s Pair. Having raced together at the London Olympics the Pair has great chemistry which came across in spades as they earned their second Silver medal at the World Cup in Lucerne after just weeks of training together.
The icing on the cake however came in the form of their third Silver medal of the season at the World Championships in Amsterdam. Not only did they give the undefeated (for six years) New Zealand Pair a real run for their money, beating their time in the heat and coming in just four seconds behind them in the final, they also came back holding the British record, formally held by rowing legends Matt Pinsent and James Cracknell.
British Record, 6 Min 13 seconds, 2000m
Injury? What injury?
News at One caught up with Matt in Henley-on-Thames to get his take on last season…
“For me this year gave me a new challenge, my injury actually gave me more motivation and coming out the other side has given me a new found confidence that I can come through the worst and still achieve what we did. Of course I’d rather be winning but it’s about taking the right steps to achieve the end goal.
“What I’m most proud of is the way I dealt with the injury. There were times medically we felt things weren’t going the way we wanted them to and in previous years I may have panicked, but I was calm, I had the confidence that I would come through it. In the back of your mind as a sportsman injury is the worst thing for us as it stops us doing what we do and the natural reaction when you feel you’re slipping behind is to do more to catch up, when actually that’s the worst thing to do when you’re recovering.
“My ultimate goal is to be Olympic champion, but sometimes the challenge is what’s right in front of you, right now; you have to take it one step at a time. This year I had to set different, smaller goals to move forward and this strategy is reflected in the result at the end of the season. The injury made it a short season, but I made it count.
“I was thrilled to be selected for the Men’s Pair with James. I’ve known James for a long time, and we get along well. Also in a smaller boat you are more in control of your own destiny. We were pleased with our performance against New Zealand, we showed them we had the speed, we just need to build the consistency of the whole course, but we don’t know if we’ll get the chance again. It’s a big team and you have to win your seat back, whereas the New Zealand Pair is selected and train together for the full four years prior to the Olympics. We won’t know our fate until April 2016.
“This season is going well so far, we’ve moved between the eight and the four but we’re moving as a pair at the moment which is great. I’ve realised I have to manage myself better, I’m not as young as I used to be, I’m not 21 anymore and I need to make sure I’m constantly training. It’s better to be at 95% for four weeks than 100% for three weeks and 0% for the last week. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
“Although the Olympics are two years away, I always have that end goal of winning Gold in mind. Going into the Olympic year is a big year, you feel you have to do more in terms of training, but actually I just need the confidence to do the same as I’m doing now but to the best of my ability, if you push yourself to the edge that’s when you break down, sometimes less is more. It’s as much about attitude, I only need to win one race, and that’s what I need to focus on. I’m not where I want to be yet, it’s the Silver not the Gold, but I’m where I need to be now, and I’m working in the right way to achieve my ultimate aim. The comforting thing is that if I face this again in the Olympic year, I know I can still achieve my goal.”
Ahead of the 2016 Olympics, Team GB visited Rio this summer to familiarise themselves with the surroundings and satisfy the tourist in them ahead of the games.
- The team was hosted by Clube de Regatas do Flemengo – the biggest football team in Brazil. Five of the football teams in Brazil started as rowing clubs so the team went to the stadium and received football shirts with their names on the back. The stadium is right at the end of where the Olympic course will finish.
- They visited Maracanã stadium where the opening ceremony will take place, as well as the Olympic park, and Olympic village which in the process of being built.
- Although there weren’t enough boats to train on the lake they still had to squeeze in their weights and rowing machine training every day, in-between enjoying the country!
- The rowing lake is unusually right in the centre of the action with the starting point placed right at the foot of Christ the Redeemer!
“It was great to get a feel for how 2016 will be, in terms of historic setting it’s going to be so different and the rowing lake will be the most spectacular lake I’ve ever been to. That’s what is cool about the Olympics; they all have their own theme and are different in their own way.”
28 December 2014