A MONTH on from winning gold on his Games debut Matt Gotrel admits he still hasn’t quite grasped the concept of being an Olympic champion, writes Phil Jones.
The 27-year-old won gold as part of Team GB’s men’s eight rowing team and has spent the time since crossing the line by making the most of his new-found fame.
Team GB finished ahead of Germany in Rio, just as they had the previous year in the World Championships, and Gotrel said that after four years of committing to the sport, he and his colleagues enjoyed their time post-competition in Brazil.
But while some of Team GB’s rowers have called it a day in the wake of Rio, and others delay their decision on what to do for the next four years ahead of Tokyo 2020, Gotrel revealed he will be back in the boat soon, but not too soon.
“It hasn’t sunk in about the actual winning of the gold medal, I think that’s going to take a bit longer,” said Leamington-born Gotrel.
“In Rio a lot of us were out and about on the town until quite early hours, which is nice because when you’re pent up in a rowing environment, training, then you don’t get the chance to get out much.
“So when we actually let out hair down a bit then it was great fun and we had a few local clubs and bars.
“I know that planning will have already started for Tokyo and the team will have started gearing up for it.
“So if you want to be a part of it then you need to be ready to get stuck in pretty soon.
“I’m having a bit more time out, just to get my head right, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but I’m looking forward to getting back into it at some point in the near future.”
Gotrel was speaking as a host of Team GB rowers that descended on his home club, Leander, on Saturday, for their ‘Heroes Return’ event.
And Gotrel paid tribute to Leander Club, which has produced 123 Olympic medallists in its history, for getting him to where he is today.
“Everyone’s been here, there and everywhere after Rio, so it’s great to have people back together and share a few memories,” he added.
“Leander is an amazing club, it’s the place to be if you want to get into the team for starters, and it’s where Olympic champions come to train.
“They give you all the facilities you need and you get to race with the best guys in the world, there isn’t anywhere else in the world where you can do that and just rock up on a regular basis and you know it’s going to be ten or 12 Olympic champions there.”
Invesco Perpetual is the proud supporter of Leander Club. A 14-year relationship built on shared philosophy and commitment to investing in people, nurturing talent and taking a long-term approach, with 123 Olympic & three Paralympic medals won by its members since 1908.