Olivia Whitlam leaves London 2012 with head held high

Whitlam leaves London 2012 with head held high

Olivia Whitlam racing in the final. Picture by Jessica Mann

TeamGB partners

First published in Sport

OLIVIA Whitlam admits Great Britain’s women’s eight got found out as they missed the medal podium at London 2012 – but she’s adamant she can leave Dorney Lake with her head held high.

Whitlam and the rest of the British octet arrived at London 2012 with genuine hopes of a medal, having won world bronze in 2011 and the same colour medal at the last World Cup of the season in Munich in June.

But all was night right at London 2012 and after finishing third out of four in their heat, they crept into the final by claiming the fourth and last available place in the repechage.

Throughout the women’s competition all eight of the Brits spoke of how it was a matter of time before they clicked and showed their true colours, but after crossing the line in fifth in the final, they are still waiting.

By avoiding sixth and last place the Brits at least mirrored their Beijing 2008 finish but while 26-year-old Whitlam conceded Great Britain were not at their best in London, she insists it was not for the want of trying.

“It was a really tough regatta for us and we didn't come here and bring our best but we are really proud of the way we rowed in the final and that's we all we could do,” said Whitlam, who finished sixth in the pair at Beijing 2008.

“I am really proud of the girls. Of course we wanted to stand on that podium at our home Games but if we didn't start the regatta on the front foot we would have always been on the back foot.

“I think we really put ourselves in that race and that's the most I can ask of myself and the other girls in the crew.

“We had a really, really hard job two days ago entering this final ranked sixth and we worked so hard in trying to turn ourselves around.

“And as much as you want to tell yourself that you're one of the best rowers in the world – it is easier said than done.

“Having eight in the boat makes it one of the best sports when it does go right, when you have got everyone on the same page. But when it is not right it's a very trick beast to row.”

It proved to be a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show for Whitlam and co, who took to the water just 24 hours after Heather Stanning and Helen Glover tore up the history books by becoming the first British female rowers to win Olympic gold.

But rather than resentment, Whitlam insists she had nothing for admiration for the duo, revealing she just wished she was able to join them on the podium.

"We watched what the guys did before us. We said the night before and the morning before the race that we were so proud of Helen and Heather and the other guys,” added Whitlam.

“We train alongside them every day and we know how good we are, and we knew that we were in the medal hunt compared to those crews and we gave it everything we could out there.”

Lloyds TSB, proud supporter of Team GB and proud partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Get closer to the Games at lloydstsb.com/london2012

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