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Zac Purchase (Getty image)
Zac meets his old coach
BBC Hereford and Worcester arranges for gold medalist Zac Purchase to talk to his old rowing coach at the King's School in Worcester.
Speaking to BBC Hereford and Worcester's Howard Bentham at Breakfast, Olympic gold medallist Zac Purchase spoke about taking up the sport as a teenager.
He was too young to start rowing at the King's School in Worcester, and so he joined Upton-upon-Severn rowing club:
"I'd been hanging around the boat house at the King's School when I was about 13, thinking I'd like to give this a go.
"I wasn't quite old enough to start at school so I joined up at Upton, and got my first taste of sculling and seeing what it was like.
"When I started at school I was a little bit further down the road, which was nice."
His coach at school was Nick Maloney, and BBC Hereford and Worcester arranged for him to talk to Zac in Beijing.
His former coach says he could tell Zac was a special athlete early on:
"I met Zac when he was 15, but didn't really get to coach him until he was 16, when he rowed in the school eight and also competed in the single scull, and won his first gold medal.
"He was someone who had single minded determination, when he went out on the water, to win everything that was put in his way, and that was a very special quality."
Zac says from an early age he dreamt of competing in the Olympics, though as he was also a talented swimmer he wasn't sure which sport to choose:
"I've always, since I was quite young, wanted to go to the Olympics, and compete, but never really knowing what sport I was going to be going in.
"To come and fulfil those dreams is an amazing experience, and to exceed them, and come away with a gold medal, is just amazing."
Support from Gran
He also paid tribute to the great support he'd had in China from friends and family, including his 80-year-old Grannie:
"She's come out here to watch and has been a very vocal supporter, and she's got the whole village where she lives supporting me.
"She makes birthday cakes for me that have got Union Jacks on them.
"She's been saying for years that the only reason she's staying alive is to come and see me in Beijing, and after our semi-final she changed her mind and said she going to stay alive until London, so that she can see me compete there."
last updated: 19/08/2008 at 09:45