Olympian Louloudis to focus on Boat Race

Olympic medallist Constantine Louloudis has confirmed he will take a year off from rowing for Great Britain in 2013 and focus instead on the Boat Race with Oxford University.

The 21-year-old, who grew up in Maida Vale, rejoins a squad looking to gain revenge over Cambridge after a controversial 2012 race which was stopped by a swimmer, saw the boats clash and blades break, then Oxford oarsman Alex Woods collapse over the finish line.

But Louloudis has also set his sights on upgrading his bronze medal from London 2012 for gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Louloudis, known as Stan, won the Boat Race in his first year at Oxford in 2011 and was then selected for GB.

Taking a year off from university the following year, he fought his way into the Olympic squad, winning a bronze medal in an epic battle with Germany.

He struggled throughout the season with back problems, though, and admitted: “I’m nursing a few injuries that I wasn’t a couple of years ago and this summer is a good time to address that.

“A slightly lighter summer will do me no harm come 2016. I want to win more Boat Races and then put myself in good stead looking to Rio.”

After taking a year off from his studies in 2012, Louloudis has three years left on his Classics degree and believes he can beat Cambridge three more times.

The two universities began the build-up to the 2013 BNY Mellon Boat Race – which takes place on 31 March – on the River Thames in London on Thursday by competing in trial eights races, pitting the top 16 rowers from each institution against each other.

Woods, who decided to return for another shot at victory even though he is in the final year of a medical degree, featured in Louloudis’ crew and had a marginal lead when controversy struck again.

The two Oxford eights clashed, Woods lost his oar and their crew surrendered their lead.

“No one likes to lose but three months down the line I’m not going to care whether I won or lost trial eights,” said Louloudis.

“It was really good to get experience not just of a tough race but changes of leads, a clash, a restart.

“There was so much packed into that race that it was really good experience and I think it will stand us in really good stead.”

Louloudis is likely to be joined in the Oxford Boat Race line-up by Canadian Malcolm Howard, who won Olympic silver ahead of the British eight in August.

An experienced Cambridge squad includes seven men who have competed in the race before, including George Nash, a member of Molesey Boat Club who won Olympic bronze in the pair at London 2012.

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