Grainger selected for fifth Olympics

Scot to defend her women's double sculls title in Rio

SCOT Katherine Grainger is to defend her title at her fifth Olympics after being selected for Team GB in the women’s double sculls for Rio 2016.

Her on-off partnership with Vicky Thornley, which saw them omitted from the original team announcement after they failed in a late bid to make the women’s eight, has been resurrected.

Grainger, who will defend the title she won with Anna Watkins at London 2012, is Team GB’s most decorated female Olympian with three silver medals from Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 and that long-awaited gold in 2012.

A relieved Grainger said she had never stopped believing she could clinch her place and added: “It is an amazing feeling to be selected to represent your country at the Olympic Games. That feeling doesn’t diminish the second, third, fourth or even fifth time round!

“I am proud to have been selected into the women’s double with Vicky and look forward with confidence to the next few weeks of training camps where we can make huge strides towards our goal of competing for a medal in Rio.”

Thornley added: “I am very proud to be selected for Rio 2016 in the double with Katherine. I am really looking forward to putting the next building blocks in place. Racing with the Union Flag on my chest at my second Olympic Games will be very special and I can’t wait.”

Thornley raced in the women’s eight in London on her debut Games. This crew qualified for the Olympic final and finished fifth overall. Thornley was also a World bronze medallist in the eight in 2011 and a European bronze medallist, with Grainger, in the double scull in 2015.

This season the crew have reached the final of both the European Championships and the most recent World Cup in Poznan, Poland.

Earlier this week Alan Sinclair and Stewart Innes were confirmed as the men’s pair and Sam Scrimgeour was named as the lightweight men’s spare. These two recent selections now bring the tally of named rowers to 46 from 47 places.

Mark England, Team GB’s Chef de Mission, said: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Victoria and Katherine into the team. Katherine’s achievement on the Olympic stage are unparalleled in British Olympic history.”

Sir David Tanner, British Rowing Performance Director and Team GB Rowing Team Leader said: “While the road to selection for this crew has not been straightforward, I remain confident that they remain a significant contender in Rio”.

Grainger joins Lossiemouth’s Heather Stanning and Polly Swann and Karen Bennett, from Edinburgh, who have been selected to race in the women’s eight, in the Scots contingent who have booked their seat on the plane.

Stanning, who won the first gold of London 2012, will defend her Olympic rowing title alongside Helen Glover in Rio.

Don’t miss our interview with Katherine Grainger, in our digital issue, or in our features section.