The dust has been settling over the past few days and although I don't think our disappointment at not winning the gold will ever go away, I am beginning to put things into more perspective day by day.

We actually had a great race and I honestly don't know what we could have done to go faster.

If I had my day again I wouldn't change what we did; physically and tactically we put together the best race we ever have; we went as fast as we possibly could on the day. And as an athlete this is the most I have ever asked of myself.

Vernon, Flood, Houghton and Grainger are distrought at silver

Earlier in the week before the race we took a pack of cards and wrote a strength on each one - experience, desire to win, our faith and trust in each other and in everyone that was supporting us.

In the race it felt like we laid down every single one of those cards and delivered every strength we had. Unfortunately for us the Chinese had just one more joker left at the end.

It has been such a great journey to be a part of this crew and one that I will look back on with a lot of pride and many great memories.

If someone had said five years ago that by August 2008 I would be three-times world champion and double Olympic silver medallist I wouldn't have believed them, but I would have taken it with both hands.

To be at my third Olympics is just absolutely incredible and to win a second silver medal might be hugely frustrating but it is still absolutely awesome too.

There are so many people that helped us become the crew that we were and we are so grateful to all of them.

Coaches, psychologists, physiotherapists, everyone has given up so much time to our goal and lived our journey with us through all the ups and downs with all their hearts and souls.

I am just so sorry that this did not have the ending we all hoped for.

Thank you everyone so much for all your support.

We are now all doing our best to enjoy the rest of the Games, and to cheer the rest of Team GB on as loudly as we possibly can!

Frances Houghton, 28, from Oxford, has won gold in the women's quadruple scull in each of the last three World Rowing Championships, and won Olympic silver medals in 2004 and 2008. Her previous diary entries are on 606. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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  • 1. At 10:01am on 22 Aug 2008, PicksyJ wrote:

    Every medal won at the Olympics is hard-fought. Every British athlete out there fighting to do their best should feel that their country is proud of them, whether they finished first, second, fourth or twenty-fourth.

    We're talking about competing against the best in the world here. Simply being good enough to get there is beyond the reach of most people. Anyone good enough to represent us already deserves to be proud.

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  • 2. At 10:03am on 22 Aug 2008, toffeeman78 wrote:

    I can't empathise (not having ever narrowly missed out on an Olympic Gold Medal), but I sympathise.

    Remember though, you gave everything you had and have something most of us can't begin to dream of. Twice!

    It's an amazing feat to be able to compete, let alone win anything at the Olympics. Congratulations on your medal(s).

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  • 3. At 10:32am on 22 Aug 2008, mrireland wrote:

    We are all so proud of all the British competitors
    To compete honourably and with such heart and spirit is just great
    Moreover in my opinion the your sporting attitude and dignity is what Olympic competition is all about
    You ladies are are a true inspiration and have lifted us all up with your example

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  • 4. At 11:16am on 22 Aug 2008, Ryushinku wrote:

    So upset for you all. Glad Sir Steve was able to give you all a big hug because that's how we all felt.

    You all did your best and did your country proud, and won us another medal as part of the awesome showing from Team GB. Don't be ashamed of that.

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  • 5. At 11:20am on 22 Aug 2008, Rob Olivier wrote:

    Hope you all go for Gold in London.

    A silver medal is a real acheivement.

    Chinese just had the better last 100m sprint power quality if that was the divide between the two teams.

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  • 6. At 11:26am on 22 Aug 2008, ArmchairEmma wrote:

    This is the attitude of a winner and I'm so proud of all the amazing performances that Team GB have put in. I was a bit ambivalent about the Olympics coming to my back yard but I'm going to try what I can to get me and the children there in 2012 just for the inspiration!

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  • 7. At 11:28am on 22 Aug 2008, amazonmothe wrote:

    Enjoy your moment. You do not have to explain yourself. It was quite obvious that you gave absolutely EVERYTHING.

    Look forward to seeing you on your open topped bus ride!

    You are a credit to your chosen sport and your country as competitors and you will inspire others to follow.

    Nothing more could be asked of or expected from you.

    Thank you very much

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  • 8. At 11:33am on 22 Aug 2008, steviep1 wrote:

    Well done Frances to you and all of the team. Watching these Olympics has made me very proud to be British.

    I am looking forward so much to watching 2012 and really hope I can get tickets for many of the events!

    You are all stars!

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  • 9. At 12:38pm on 22 Aug 2008, adventureracer wrote:

    The trouble with sport is that you can't control what your opponents do. If you really have done your best, and picked up an Olympic medal for it then that's not so bad - it would be far worse to be beaten by a crew you know you are better than because you got it wrong.

    Well done on a top drawer performance where you put everything on the line - lots of golds have been won with a lot less effort than you put in for that silver.

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  • 10. At 2:13pm on 22 Aug 2008, GBDan123 wrote:

    You can't beat yourself up about something you can't control. Your preparation was excellent, your tactics were top drawer and you all left everything out there on the water. In addition to that you were racing against an unknown quantity after their general avoidance of World Cup Regattas (why I wonder?).

    You did good and personally I am as proud of you as I am any of our gold medalists.

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  • 11. At 2:13pm on 22 Aug 2008, jbancroft wrote:

    Anyone that is at the Olympics is there due to hard work and dedication (and an awful lot of lottery money.) I certainly admire everyone in the team for that. Your achievements are immense and you should not forget that.

    What I can't stand is bad losers or ungraceful losers. How about some respect for the team that did win? China were better. That does not mean they were more dedicated or harder working - just better.

    Standing on the podium is something that most of us can only dream of and would make the most of. Most people would not waste that moment by feeling sorry for themselves.

    Don't belittle everyone else's achievements by being disappointed with Silver.

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  • 12. At 2:26pm on 22 Aug 2008, Jonathan9071 wrote:

    Some serious perspective is needed here. You did your absolute best, but it wasn't good enough. The better team won on the day. There's no shame in that and accepting defeat gracefully, 'taking it on the chin', is all part of sport, all part of life... No shame in silver, stop feeling sorry for yourself and be proud of what you have achieved.

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  • 13. At 4:41pm on 22 Aug 2008, Ten_Thousand_Fists wrote:

    RE #11

    I really hope you are not suggesting that our quad did not congradulate the Chinese after the race, that would be a very stupid thing to say.

    Just like your comment that someone not being happy with silver belittles the acheivement of someone who is happy with silver. If you had been World Champion for three years comming into the Olympics, believed you could win gold and didn't you are going to be devestated compared to someone who came into the Olympics just hoping to get a medal and gets silver.

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  • 14. At 5:47pm on 22 Aug 2008, viscera316 wrote:

    I agree with nearly all of the above comments. There is no shame in getting a Silver medal, you still did brilliantly in my eyes. The whole team GB should be proud of what they've accomplished. I cant speak for everybody in this country, but personally their achievments in this games has lifted me! Forget the rain, and the credit crunch - we beat the aussies! muhaha

    Oh, and as for comments 11 and 12 - what on earth are you criticising for? They feel they let people down (which they didnt at all) so stop being crazy foo's.

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  • 15. At 11:28pm on 22 Aug 2008, Baron_Daguerre wrote:

    Frances, there's a big paradox at the heart of sport (and much else in life): on the one hand, to compete with or compare yourself to others ultimately weakens and defeats you, the only competition that really matters is the competition with yourself, to be the very best that you can be - but on the other hand the only context in which you can become that, the only way to test yourself, is to test yourself against others.

    That probably doesn't make a lot of sense, it's a lot to try and express in a few words, but what I'm trying to say is that the most important thing is what you wrote in your fourth paragraph:

    "I wouldn't change what we did; physically and tactically we put together the best race we ever have; we went as fast as we possibly could on the day. And as an athlete this is the most I have ever asked of myself."

    Few people will ever be able to look themselves in the mirror and say that with absolute honesty. If you're one of them, then I hope you come to understand that beside this everything else is dross.

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  • 16. At 02:30am on 23 Aug 2008, Stop_it_Aggers wrote:


    Anyone gives you grief, you can just ask them how many medals _they've_ won in three separate Olympics....

    And if it counts for anything, I think the quad ranks as the most memorable medal "celebration" of the Games - we all felt the pain. Don't suppose you could have a word with the track and field mob about settling for second best? ;-/

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  • 17. At 07:22am on 23 Aug 2008, Martin Gough - BBC Sport wrote:

    After she sent in this blog we asked Frances whether she would be carrying on until the 2012 Games, when she will be 32. Here's her email response:

    "I haven't made any decisions yet. This year has been the hardest I have ever experienced, every step of the way.

    "My priority now is recuperation and relaxation. I am going to take my time to do a lot of thinking and reflecting before I decide whether I've got what I need inside of me to embark on another four years.

    "Either way, I still love rowing and will always crave the feeling of moving the boat well, so I'll be out on the river whatever happens."

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  • 18. At 6:18pm on 23 Aug 2008, Jordan D wrote:

    Frances and the other GB Quad girls - you all did us proud. I was shouting at the screen last Sunday and felt genuinely upset when you didn't make the gold. But you could see that you all tried your hardest and that's all we could ever ask (I was a bit concerned when Kath appeared to turn a dangerous shade of blue whilst being interviewed). Go home with your head held high. Well done.

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  • 19. At 02:38am on 27 Aug 2008, dunmorehevers wrote:

    Well Done Frances,

    "Only in defeat can triumph truly be appreciated".

    good luck for the future.hope you get the gold in 2012!

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