Anna has a breadth of experience working with the media, discussing prominent issues in the sporting world. She has worked with the BBC, Sky News and other nationwide radio stations in raising awareness of women in sport, and what is takes to be an Olympic champion. As a columnist for the Sunday Times in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, this combined with her depth of knowledge in sport, perfectly aligns her to discuss the many issues and events in the sporting calendar.
TEN MINUTES WITH ANNA
> What got you into rowing? What is the most difficult thing about rowing? Did it come easily to you?
I got into rowing as a way to get fit, and to try something new — that was all! I never expected it to become my life. The most difficult thing about rowing is getting the whole crew to be thinking, and feeling both in a physical and emotional sense, the same thing at the same time.
> What was it like training for the Olympics? What kept you motivated?
On a good day, you can't believe training for the Olympics is your job. We could be out on a lake in the Italian sunshine, sculling on flat water surrounded by the alps, and then come in and eat ice cream with impunity as we had burned so many calories. On a bad day, it is 24km on a 2k course in the howling wind and rain, or an ergo test when you're already exhausted. On days like those you need your friends and plenty of gallows humour. It also helps that you don't have any choice about whether to do the session, once you're in the national squad that deeply!
> What was the race like? What does it feel like to win an Olympic Gold?
The race was a huge effort of concentration. I knew so precisely what mind-set I needed to be in, that I needed to be nervous but excited, alert but calm and in control. I wasn't worried about the pain because by that stage it seemed irrelevant, I wanted to win so much I would have taken any amount of pain. So I put a lot of effort into getting in, and staying in the right zone. When we crossed the line I was still in that place, working hard physically and mentally to do what I had trained to do. Everyone watching was way more emotional than me, I couldn't afford to get like that! Then gradually, over the next weeks and months, it sunk it that I'd done it, my ten years effort had been worth it, we had beaten the world, and there were lots of tears! I would cry in random places, like a car park, as it hit me bit by bit.
> Will you compete again or are you done racing competitively?
Oh I will compete, at some level, but it might be just for fun or it might be another Olympics!
> Any advice for rowers who haven't made it to that Olympic level yet?
Trust your own boat feel, it's more use than any number of words from the bank!