Report by James Franklin , Reporter
Thursday, August 9, 2012
A NORTH Somerset Olympian may have seen his gold medal dream disappear, but he still helped to make history for Team GB and ‘lived his dream’ in the process.
Alongside his three teammates, Steve Rowbotham rowed against teams from five other countries in the quadruple sculls final on Friday.
Although the race ultimately ended in disappointment, with the team finishing fifth, the 30-year-old, from Winscombe, said it was the best moment of his career, as he also helped to make history by becoming part of the first British team to reach the final.
He said of the experience: “That was the highlight of my career, competing in front of about 30,000 people who are only screaming for you to succeed was pretty special.”
He is now set to retire after competing in two consecutive Olympic Games and scooping a bronze medal at the Beijing games in 2008.
Mr Rowbotham was born in Swindon but lived in Winscombe as he studied at Clifton College in Bristol before studying at Durham University.
His parents, Chris and Elizabeth, both still live in Winscombe, in Sidcot Drive.
On Friday he lined up alongside teammates Matthew Wells, Charles Cousins and Tom Solesbury in the six-team final at Eton Dorney rowing lake on Friday.
But despite being in contention for much of the race, the team eventually finished fifth.
Germany took the gold medal, Croatia the silver and Australia the bronze.
He continued: “It was quite disappointing in the end. We put everything on the line, but the conditions were a bit unfair for us.
“Everyone has an equal chance when they are on the starting line, but it just didn’t stack up for us on the day.
“Still, we’re an amateur sport and competing in the Olympics is the pinnacle for us – the last few weeks I’ve been living my dream.”
Alongside teammate Wells he became the first Brit to win an Olympic medal in sculls rowing since 1976 when he claimed a bronze medal in the double sculls in Beijing in 2008.
And he made history yet again as his team won their semi-final in this year’s quadruple sculls with the third fastest time, making them the first ever British finalists in the event.
Of his own future, he said: “It’s retirement for me now. I’ve got a wife, Eleanor, and a 14-month-old son, Elliot, and I’ll have to get a proper job now.
“I don’t think I would ever be able to achieve those heights again. There have been good times and bad times in my career, but competing in the Olympics in Britain was my dream.”