London 2012: Katherine Grainger 'inspired & humbled' by support
Team GB rower Katherine Grainger admits the huge support she has received in her bid to finally land Olympic gold brings with it added pressure.
The Scot won silver at the last three Games but is favourite with Anna Watkins for the double scull this time.
"There's a real mix with the huge support," Grainger told BBC Sport.
"It's wonderful in every way, really kind of heartwarming and humbling and inspiring at the same time, but you do feel the pressure of it."
Watkins on Grainger
"In a nutshell, Katherine is the life and soul of the rowing team. She's an incredibly charismatic leader; she can inspire anyone to do anything. That's who she is as a rower. As a person she's warm, engaging and really caring, really keeps an eye out for everybody. She's absolutely the one person everybody looks up to, without a doubt."
She added: "Everyone is saying the right message for the right reasons. It means so much to know that that's there, but it also makes you think there's a lot of people waiting for this result. You just want it to be right, not just for yourself but for everyone now."
The 36-year-old is Britain's most decorated female rower with three silver medals at three successive Olympic Games, as well as six world titles.
Olympic gold has so far eluded Grainger, with a narrow defeat by China in Beijing four years ago especially hard to take, but since teaming up with Watkins in 2010 the pair have remained unbeaten in the double scull.
"It's definitely about myself and Anna," said Grainger. "And I wouldn't want to let the two of us down because I think what we believe is possible in our boat is really quite special.
"We've worked very hard with Paul (Thompson) our coach to get that, and within our group there's this feeling that we don't want to let each other down. I feel that almost more than I don't want to let myself down.
"I do see that as an amazing opportunity - we've got this on our home ground at the right time in our career, and it is an amazing chance to try and grab."
Grainger and Watkins completed another unbeaten season at the World Cup in Munich last month, with the second-placed Australia pair of Brooke Pratley and Kim Crow expected to be the main rivals at Eton Dorney next month.
Grainger at the Olympics
- Sydney 2000: Silver, quadruple scull
- Athens 2004: Silver, pair (with Cath Bishop)
- Beijing 2008: Silver, quadruple scull
"I think it's a really great position to be in," said Watkins, who won Olympic bronze in Beijing.
"We've had a lot of races over the past two years, some we've been really well prepared for, some we've been really under-prepared for. Each one has thrown a different challenge at us and we've managed to come out on top in all of them.
"That process has given us a lot of confidence and it's better to be like that than know we're vulnerable. We've been pushed enough to see what we can improve and where our weaknesses might be, but not so much that we can't just race feeling like we should be able to take it on."
And the 29-year-old Watkins is happy to be the the junior partner in the boat, with so much attention focused on Grainger.
"It's very nice for me because I can get on with doing my job well and Katherine does have the brunt of the media attention," said Watkins.
"She's a great ambassador for our sport. Women's rowing in the UK absolutely needs someone like Katherine to show what's possible, and she knows she has my support in getting the profile of what we're doing as high as possible.
"I couldn't think of anyone better to be a figurehead for what we're doing and her story is just incredible.
"I'm a tadpole in rowing compared to what she's achieved and I just hope to do justice to the fact that we've got this chance together. I know she'll produce a great race for me and I'll give everything I've got for her."