London 2012: GB women 'will win rowing gold' - Grainger
Great Britain will win a first ever women's rowing gold medal this summer, according to three-time silver medallist Katherine Grainger.
“Can we beat the men in the medals table? Last month in Munich the girls did pull that one off and I'd like to see it! I think we will give them a real run for their money.”
Grainger and Anna Watkins are two-time world champions in the double scull, while Helen Glover and Heather Stanning have dominated in the pair this year.
"There is no doubt it's going to happen in London and there are a lot of crews who could do it," said Grainger.
Britain will be represented in five of the six women's Olympic rowing classes.
While Britain's men have won 24 gold medals at Olympics, including at least one at every Games since 1984, it was not until 2000 that Grainger herself won GB's first women's rowing medal.
The Scot, 36, has gone on to become the nation's most decorated female rower with three silver medals at three successive Olympic Games, as well as six world titles.
"When I won my first medal back in Sydney it was a huge breakthrough for women's rowing," she told BBC Sport.
"Since then I feel very lucky to see it transform from the odd result being a huge success to the women actually being seen as leading the way with the men, and at times outperforming them.
"It is just brilliant to have seen the women's squad grow in strength and depth, and to see the standard of success that has been set.
Women's rowing finals
- Pair - 1 August
- Quadruple Sculls - 1 August
- Eight - 2 August
- Double Sculls - 3 August
- Single Sculls - 4 August *
- Lightweight Double Sculls - 4 August
* No Team GB entry
"Women are arriving in the squad and are expecting to be successful now and compete at the top, top level, not just be part of a team but actually winning events."
Grainger and Watkins are unbeaten since coming together as a pair in 2010, and they won all three of this year's World Cup events, seeing off a threatening Australian boat in some style in Munich last time out.
Victory at Eton Dorney in August would cap Grainger's personal story nicely, given she has missed out three times in succession, but she might not get the honour of becoming Britain's first female gold medallist.
"Of course everyone would like to be the first to win a gold but for us it is very much down to the programme," said Grainger.
"You don't get to choose and I am not going to wish one of my team-mates bad just so it is me! We are the third day of finals, so realistically I don't think we will be the first, but I think for both of us we see it as our medal and our event and a first in its own right.
Analysis - Munich World Cup
- Grainger & Watkins: "The confidence they finished that race with will boost them again. They know they have a race on their hands and that's what you want. You still need that element of needing to push on and they'll have one eye on Australia. I think it will be a lot closer race in London; the Australians are coming back from injury and are a class act."
- Glover & Stanning: "They hugely impressed me last year with their season and this year they've just moved away - it looks like no-one will challenge them at all, which is fantastic. This is their first Olympics so there will be nerves but they're absolutely flying and I can't see any reason why that's going to change."
"That race and that day will be more important than anything, regardless of what is happening around us."
Glover and Stanning won silver in the pair at last year's World Championships but have taken a major step forward in 2012, winning all three World Cup regattas and seeing off world champions New Zealand in Munich.
"We never sat down at the start of the season and said that we aimed to win every World Cup event," said Glover. "Instead we said we wanted to do very well with room to press on to the Olympics, and for that to end up with three golds is quite exciting for us.
"I'm sure the opposition will get closer to us. There are some really great boats out there with loads of experience, with Olympians with several gold medals, and so there are people who are going to try and do things to us, because at the moment we are the crew to beat.
"But we don't think about that, we are just trying to train as hard as we can and not worry about anyone else."
And what of the race to be Britain's first female gold medallist?
"It is something that is of great interest to journalists and people watching, but we don't really care as long as we do what we do," said Glover.
"I think the whole team feel that is a really great sort of add-on but really that is just timetabling."