David Tanner – the Road to Beijing


The Post Athens Perspective
Rowing without Pinsent and Redgrave
=Building on the results from 2004 3 medals for women, 1 gold for mens sweep, poor performances from lightweights
Everyone remembers the Olympics results and can ‘forgive’ any failings in the World Championships.

This will be the first Olympics since 1984 when we will be going without either Pinsent or Redgrave on the team. That year was the breakthrough for GB rowing…. the first gold since 1948. In 1996 the rowing gold medal was the ONLY one GB won in the whole games. Our great media profile is in part due to us producing ‘heroes’ for the public eye. It didn’t use to be like this we got about 3 pieces a year in the newspapers. Sydney was the first EVER Olympic medal for GB women, a silver in 4x.

We now have the best womens sculling squad in the world. We should ‘deliver’ at Beijing. At Athens only one mens crew made a final…. it won the gold. This is what counts but we need more crews in finals in Beijing.

Finding and developing Olympians

The club is where every rower starts.The coach is the greatest single influence on a rower.The dilemma for clubs is that you lose the best athletes quite quickly. E.g. Richard Spratley got Tom Lucie at Brookes and within 18 months he was 3rd at senior trials and taken away to the GB squad programme. Richard can be proud of this achievement.
World Class Start is 5 years old. 2005 the first WCS athletes came to senior trials; 2007 first medals in Olympic classes and U23 had 6 medallists; 2007 starting Sporting Giants initiative started,Trying to find athletes from ‘new and different’ places. There is a shortage of state sector schools, few universities offer high performance. This complements the ‘traditional’ rowing schools / universities / clubs programme to world class rowing.
Sporting giants is for volleyball, basketball and rowing talent ID.

The high performance model depends on

  • Good funding
  • Developing coaches
  • Supporting the rower
  • Top logistics
  • Caversham (GB Rowing’s first base)

“I am still a volunteer in my head, of course I do get paid now, but I still think this is my hobby” David Tanner

More people are able to make Rowing coaching a career than ever before. There is a career pathway here now. When GB rowing increased coaches from 2.5 when DT started in 1996, there are now over 20. There was a fear that this would suck all the good club coaches to the ARA leaving nothing in the clubs. This hasn’t happened.

Logistics important. He visited NZ last week and has found only 2/3 hotels that he considers possibly appropriate for the team when the worlds go to Karapiro in 2010. Advance planning is key.

Caversham funded by Lottery £13m. Opened in April 2006. He doesn’t think it is a coincidence that our best ever World Championships were last year.

Create new champions

  • GB Women Golds in sculling and building the sweep squad. Redgrave visits to give advice.
  • Qualified womens 4x, 2x, 8. Not qualified W2or W1x
  • GB Men making a new four, building the sweep squad, sculling into the medal zone
  • Qualified mens 1x, 2x, 2-, 4-, 8. Not qualified 4x
  • Lightweights raising the bar. Outstandingly good work by coaches and athletes
  • Qualified LM2x, 4-, LW2x.

Target is to win 3 medals in Beijing and 3 A finals. There are 130 qualified Olympians from UK so far and 41 are rowers.

The Paralympic Challenge

  • Rowing becomes the only new paralympic sport in 2005
  • Four paralympic boat classes LTA mixed 4+, LTA mixed 2x, AW 1x, AM 1x
  • Secured UK Sport funding and starting to develop the club pathway
  • Top nation at worlds last year was Brazil, UK second.

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