British rowing greats Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matt Pinsent will race together for the first time in more than 14 years this weekend, at a major regatta in the United States.
The duo, who won three Olympic gold medals together from 1992 to 2000 and have nine career golds between them, are part of an eight made up of former British internationals representing Molesey Boat Club at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.
Redgrave, now 52, last raced with Chiswick resident Pinsent, 44, in the British four that won gold in the Sydney Olympics.
And he admitted that the chance to race with his former partner again was one of the reasons why he committed to the Molesey crew.
“I am really very excited about racing on the Charles. We’ve all been pretty determined and want to win,” he said.
“Rowing with Matt again has been great. At the end of the day it’s a group of old boys getting back into the boat and having fun and that’s what it should be about.”
Redgrave and Pinsent have been spotted rowing together in a pair over the summer and the bulk of the eight has been training regularly over the last few months.
Also in the crew are Martin Cross – Great Britain’s oldest living Olympic rowing champion, who won in a four with Redgrave in 1984 – Moscow 1980 silver medallist Richard Stanhope and cox Garry Herbert, who is now the BBC’s rowing commentator.
“Maybe these guys aren’t in the same sort of physical condition that they once were,” said Herbert, but he added: “They still have something really special when they’re together in the boat and can still pack a punch.”
Redgrave’s crew is competing in the ‘Senior Masters’ category for crews with an average age of over 50 at the time-trial event, and face a tough challenge from several strong American eights. It is one of three eights from Molesey BC, sponsored for the trip by BNY Mellon.
Katherine Grainger, a 2012 Olympic champion who recently announced her comeback to the GB squad, is part of a Masters women’s eight that includes Olympic medallists Cath Bishop, Gillian Lindsay and cox Adrian Ellison.
Alex Partridge, another Team GB medallist from 2012, will team up with Barcelona Olympic champion Jonny Searle to compete in the Masters category for over 40s.
Martin Gough writes the weekly rowing blog The Rowlup – http://www.therowlup.com – out every Friday.