Tom Ransley takes Eton boat throng to Olympic tilt
The Press sports editor STUART MARTEL reveals how York rower Tom Ransley is aiming to negotiate a voyage that has taken in Rule Britannia and ends up with possible Olympic success at the place from where he first started out.
ETON Dorney is where the rowing career of York City Rowing Club’s Tom Ransley will turn full circle.
The first strokes that put Ransley on course for London 2012 were made on the Olympic lake during a school trip more than a decade ago.
On Wednesday, August 1, the University of York graduate will be hoping to line-up on the same stretch of water in the Olympic final with the Great Britain eights crew.
“I rowed at Eton Dorney as a kid before it was even finished,” said the 26-year-old. “We were on a random school trip there, and now it has come full circle.
“Some of my earliest strokes were made mucking around there and now it is going to be the venue for the race of my life.”
In the intervening years, Ransley honed his skills on the River Ouse with York City Rowing Club, at Cambridge University in their Boat Race team and then as part of GB Rowing’s Lottery-funded elite squad.
The Ashford-born oarsman was a member of the York City Rowing Club crew that won the prestigious Britannia Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta in 2007.
In the same year, he represented Great Britain at Under-23 level and in the senior European Championships.
After missing out to Oxford in the Boat Race in 2008 and 2009, Ransley was elevated to GB Rowing’s elite squad for the current Olympiad.
The eights are rated as second-favourites for gold behind all-conquering Germany, who have consigned Great Britain to the silver medal position at the last two World Championships.
But the gap has been closing over the course of this year’s World Cup campaign, and Ransley believes gold is a realistic goal for his crew.
While Ransley is experiencing the Olympics for the first time, he is joined in the GB Rowing team by the vastly experienced North Yorkshire duo Andy Triggs-Hodge and Debbie Flood.
Hebden-based Triggs-Hodge, 33, is the reigning Olympic champion in the men’s four having taken gold in Beijing with Pete Reed, Steve Williams and Tom James.
Harrogate-born Flood, 32, meanwhile, has won silver medals as part of the women’s quadruple scull in the last two Olympics, in Athens and Beijing, and she is back in the boat for a third crack at gold.