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13 November 2014

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You are in: Berkshire > People > Your stories > Back from Beijing

Zac Purchase

Zac Purchase on the Olympic podium

Back from Beijing

British Olympic rower, Zac Purchase tells us what it's like to come back from Beijing with a gold medal. He also shares his sporting plans and thoughts on the 'Celebrating Our Olympic Heroes' event in Henley on Saturday 11 October 2008.

"My best moment at Beijing was standing on the medal podium, watching the flag go up and listening to the national anthem.

"That was just a culmination of so many years of hard work and training," says an elated Zac.

Several months on and his eyes still well up with emotion, every time he recalls that moment.

We met Zac at his training ground on the banks of Caversham. This is the first time he's been back here, since winning gold in the Men's Olympic Lightweight Double Scull with Mark Hunter at the Olympics.

"It seems a bit strange being here. We're waiting for our container to come back from Beijing with our boat in it. It's looking a little empty without all the Olympic boats here."

Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter

Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter in Beijing

"Technically I should be back training in Caversham on November 1. But at the end of the day, as long as we are fully recovered we can start training sooner."

Prior to the Olympics, Zac was training on a daily basis, sometimes several times a day.

"It's nice to be back here, not having to do anything at all. It's good to sit around and have a little fun."

"We did a lot of work and we were totally focused on the gold medal. It was more a case that we did everything right. We had ten unbeaten races before we got out there.

"We were really confident that we were doing the right thing. We just had to go out there and prove it to everyone else."

We also asked about his future Olympic plans and whether he intends to emulate the sporting success of Matthew Pinsent and Steve Redgrave.

Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase

Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase

"2020 is probably pushing the boat out a little too far. 2016, depends where it is, I'll consider that one.

"Obviously eight years is a long time away, no matter who you are. 2012, I definitely want to go there.

"There are plenty of stars in the sport apart from the doubles. Andy Hodge, Steve Williams and Peter Reed etc have all produced gold medals."

Being on what can be classed as a sabbatical, Zac has far more spare time on his hands and it appears he's been putting it to good use.

"There's so much stuff I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do. I've done a bit of TV work and gone down to visit a few primary schools.

"I've been kept really busy. I've only had enough time off for a long weekend in Wales. It's been really good fun."

Everyone is proud of the GB team, but he has a few fans in particular that are revelling in his latest accomplishments.

"At the moment, I think my parents are incredibly proud of me. My girlfriend has been struggling with two jobs. She's been doing the minor celebrity thing in the evenings by attending events, dinners and openings.

Zac purchase at BBC Berkshire

Zac Purchase at BBC Berkshire

"Then holding down a normal nine to five day job in the day. It's tiring, but I think everyone has enjoyed it."

He also commented on the open top bus precession and rowing exhibition taking place in Henley on Saturday 11 October 2008.

"Without the support of so many people we wouldn't be here. There are so many people we need to thank for what so few people have achieved. Saturday will be a fantastic opportunity to do that.

"We're going to be in Henley not just as representatives of rowing but as representatives of Team GB."

Listen to more of this interview below:

Click on the link below to find out about the event in Henley on Saturday 11 October 2008:

last updated: 09/10/2008 at 12:50
created: 07/10/2008

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