'Messenger' Alex hails Reed and all winners
BACK out on the water for the first time since scooping Olympic Gold at London 2012, gold medal-winning rowers Pete Reed and Alex Gregory had something different to talk about yesterday morning.
Gregory said he would be sure to mention Reed's win in the professional sports personality of the year category at the Gloucestershire Media Diamond Jubilee Sports Awards in the middle of their first training run of the day.
And the 28-year-old Cheltenham-born oarsman promised that he would be chewing the ear of Reed for his no-show at the awards ceremony at Cheltenham Racecourse on Monday night, and for turning him into his delivery boy.
Reed's absence was excusable – Monday was his first day of full training as attention turns to the next Olympiad and the Rio games of 2016 – and Gregory said his crew-mate had "struggled" on his first day back.
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"I have been back in training for a week and Pete came back for the first time in the boat on Monday, and to be fair he really struggled," Gregory joked.
"First thing yesterday I told Pete that he won the award and that he wasn't here to accept it – which is disgraceful!
"But it will be something to talk about when we're out on the water and at least I will be able to deliver it to him."
Like all of Team GB's victorious rowers Gregory has been allowed to enjoy an extended break from the rigours of the three daily training sessions that have dominated the last eight years.
But the former Richard Pate Primary and Bredon Hill Middle School pupil knows that Great Britain rule the waves for a reason, and that is because their training schedule is the most punishing in the world of rowing.
"It was tough being back and it was the longest break we have had from rowing – it certainly was the longest time that I had been out of a boat for 13 years," Gregory said.
"My hands are pretty sore and I am sure Pete's will be too, but that's all part of it and I am sure we will all soon be back into the swing of things.
"For eight years I had only ever had two weeks off. I really needed to have that break to recharge again. I needed to enjoy it and make the most of the wonderful experiences that have been afforded to us since August, but it's back to work now."
Hailing the Gloucestershire Media Sports Awards for the role they play in inspiring and rewarding grass roots sport, Gregory had special admiration for one of the winners.
He said that he could not help but be impressed by the achievements of archer Lucy Mason, 12, who claimed the Young Sports Personality of the Year award.
A proud son of the county, Gregory said all the winners will appreciate the way some of the unsung sporting heroes are rewarded.
"It's a brilliant way to show Gloucestershire's appreciation for what we have done," he said.
"What the 12-year-old archer Lucy did and what all the other people have done is incredible.
"It's a great way to boost confidence of people who do so much to help everyone – me included – to perform like we have been able to."
The strength of the county's sporting pool was also highlighted by Ian Coley, who won Coach of the Year after guiding Peter Wilson to Olympic gold in the double trap shooting.
Coley, who has a shooting school in Andoversford, said: "The Sports Awards really opened my eyes to the amount of sporting talent we have in Gloucestershire.
"It was a terrific honour to be recognised in the county."
â Awards round-up, p10/11